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Trump goes from court to campaign at a bodega in his heavily Democratic hometown

By JILL COLVIN (Associated Press)

NEW YORK — Donald Trump plans to visit New York’s Harlem neighborhood on Tuesday, after spending his second day in a Lower Manhattan courtroom as a criminal defendant.

Trump was scheduled to stop at the Sanaa Practical Store, a small bodega that sells chips, soda and other snacks. Trump aides said the former president and current Republican candidate chose the store because it was the scene of a violent attack on an employee. It will also highlight consumer inflation under President Joe Biden, aides said.

The visit would be Trump’s first campaign appearance since his hush money criminal trial began, making the presumptive Republican Party nominee the first former president in U.S. history to face a criminal trial.

Trump will be confined to the courtroom most of the time, significantly limiting his movement and ability to campaign, raise money and make calls. Aides have planned rallies and other political events on weekends and Wednesdays, the only day of the week when the court is not scheduled to sit. Plans also include local appearances that Trump may make each day after the hearing recess.

Trump’s Harlem stop demonstrates the former president’s determination to amplify familiar campaign arguments, even within the restrictions of being criminally charged.

In July 2022, Jose Alba, a store clerk in Hamilton Heights, a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Harlem, was attacked by 35-year-old Austin Simon. The resulting altercation, captured on surveillance video, ended with Alba fatally stabbing Simon. Alba was arrested and charged with murder, but the Manhattan district attorney dropped the charges a few weeks later, saying he could not prove that Alba had not acted in self-defense.

On another evening in August 2022, according to the New York Post, owner Osamah Aldhabyani was in the store when a customer entered and an altercation between the two ensued. The customer was arrested, the newspaper reports.

Before his arrival, the Trump campaign distributed materials to reporters criticizing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his handling of the stabbing case, including the weeks Alba spent in jail at Rikers Island without bail. Bragg oversees the office currently prosecuting Trump.

The former president’s local presence also affirms his intentions to campaign in his home state, even though New York remains majority Democratic. In 2020, Biden received more than 60% of the vote in the state and had even wider margins in New York. Trump insists he can win New York in November anyway, and he has considered holding rallies in the South Bronx and Queens, where the former president was born and raised, and even at Madison Square Garden.

“I could rent out Madison Square Garden,” he said in an interview with Breitbart News. “It’s the belly of the beast, isn’t it? »

That would be a prohibitively expensive proposition, especially since his campaign has been scrambling to save money as it faces a fundraising shortfall with Biden.

“You know, the president cares a lot about New York,” Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita told The Associated Press last month as he discussed the campaign’s efforts to engage more people. ‘States. Still, LaCivita laughed when asked if he agreed. “I don’t go out in front of the boss. I do what the boss says. It’s the boss who drives,” he said.

Trump has argued that the continued influx of migrants to the city, where he grew his real estate empire and became a tabloid staple, has made New Yorkers more willing to vote for him since his loss to Biden in 2020 The city struggles to accommodate new arrivals, with many staying in city hotels.

“I think we have a chance. New York has changed a lot in the last two years,” he told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “The people of New York are angry. People who would never have voted for me because I’m a Republican – I mean, they’re Democrats… I think they’re going to vote for me. So I think we’re going to give New York a big blow.

Trump cited the 2022 New York gubernatorial race, when Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul prevailed over former Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin — but by a much narrower margin than usual for his party’s candidates in statewide.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a top Trump ally, said Monday that Trump would campaign across the state while he faces trial in New York.

“He’s going to make the most of this,” she said, adding that “the New York Democrats and the judge and everyone are really going to miss it.”

If nothing else, Trump, long a celebrated figure among New Yorkers, showed Tuesday that he can still turn heads in the city.

“Papito Trump is coming. Yeah!” said a passerby before the former president’s arrival.

Lesandra Carrion, 47, who lives in the neighborhood, came to see the former president when she learned he might visit her.

She said she doesn’t agree with everything Trump says or does, but said “he tells the truth.” Carrion cited the increase in the migrant population and the strain on the city’s resources. “I think he will make a difference,” she said of Trump.

As for his troubles at the courthouse in lower Manhattan, Carrion was dismissive. “He’s going to beat this,” she said. “We all make mistakes in the end. But he is the truth and the light. I feel that God is in him.

___ Associated Press Writer Lisa Mascaro in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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