At a Trump Rally in the Bronx, Chants of ‘Build the Wall’

At a Trump Rally in the Bronx, Chants of ‘Build the Wall’

Nearing the end of the criminal trial that has kept him in New York City for much of the last five weeks, former President Donald J. Trump held a rally in the Bronx on Thursday, where he made a litany of promises to improve New York, railed against the Biden administration and made overtures to Black and Latino voters.

Speaking to a more diverse crowd than is typical of his rallies, Mr. Trump lamented the surge of migrants across the southern border and criticized President Biden’s economic policies as disproportionately hurting people of color, whose support he is eager to win from Democrats.

“African Americans are getting slaughtered. Hispanic Americans are getting slaughtered,” Mr. Trump said to a crowd with large numbers of Black and Hispanic voters.

As he has before, he insisted that the migrant influx, which has prompted a crisis in New York, was disproportionately hurting “our Black population and our Hispanic population, who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”

Mr. Trump’s screeds against those crossing the border illegally and his vow to conduct the “largest deportation operation” in U.S. history — both staples of his campaign rallies — were met with cheers.

Unprompted, many in the crowd responded by chanting “Build the wall,” a reference to Mr. Trump’s effort during his presidency to build a wall on the southern border. They did not appear to object to his broad assertion, which has no evidence, that those coming across the border were mentally ill criminals leading an invasion of the United States.

“They want to get us from within,” Mr. Trump said. “I think they’re building an army.”

Such positive reception to anti-immigrant messaging was particularly striking in New York, a sanctuary city that has over decades built a reputation as a beacon for immigrants.

Many in the crowd said they were immigrants but were quick to clarify that they had crossed the border legally and that they were frustrated by those who did not.

“I don’t get these immigrants who don’t come in the right way,” Rafael Brito, a Queens resident who said he had come to the United States from the Dominican Republic.

Though Mr. Trump was greeted warmly by the people inside the park, many of whom had stood in line for hours, more than 100 protesters were demonstrating outside the secure area where he spoke.

Things became momentarily heated, with Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters screaming obscenities at one another from across the street. The New York Police Department began separating both sides, lining the streets with metal barricades.

Still, from his perch hundreds of yards away, Mr. Trump said his reception in the Bronx, one of the most Democratic counties in the nation, did not necessarily square with the perception of the city as a liberal bastion where he is deeply unpopular.

“I woke up, I said, ‘I wonder, will it be hostile or will it be friendly?’” Mr. Trump said more than an hour after he had started speaking. “It was beyond friendly. It was a love fest.”

Jeffery C. Mays contributed reporting.

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