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Trump seeks to win over New York black and Latino voters

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Reuters Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at Crotona Park in the BronxReuters

Donald Trump has held a campaign rally in New York’s South Bronx neighbourhood as he seeks to win over black and Latino voters ahead of November’s presidential election.

Among those he shared the stage with on Thursday was Florida Republican Byron Donalds, a black congressman and rumoured potential running mate.

It was Mr Trump’s first rally in New York in roughly eight years as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate tries to make inroads with ethnic minority voters.

A recent New York Times and Sienna poll suggests Democrat Joe Biden is losing support among that crucial voting bloc in key states.

The Bronx is a mainly Hispanic and black neighborhood and a Democratic stronghold.

Mr Trump spent a lot of time speaking directly to the New York audience about his thumbprint on the city – the place where he built much of his fortune and fame.

“We inspired the entire world,” he said early in his roughly 90 minute speech, but now he sees the city spiraling into “decline”, describing it as a place riddled with crime and a crumbling infrastructure.

He blamed Mr Biden and the record levels of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border for having an economic impact on minority voters.

“The biggest negative impact [of illegal immigration] is against our black population and our Hispanic population, who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose”, Mr Trump told the crowd.

Before Mr Trump’s arrival, there was concern about how he would be received in the Bronx.

“I wish he would just disappear,” one man told the New York Times ahead of the rally.

“Nobody I know supports him.”

Police presence was heavy at Crotona Park as counter-protesters gathered outside the rally.

They were eventually removed by New York police, according to the BBC’s US media partner CBS.

But people who spoke to the BBC said they appreciate Mr Trump’s willingness to step out of his comfort zone.

“It’s a bold move right here, him coming to the Bronx,” Geoffrey Davis said. “What he’s done here is very respectful.”

Mr Davis said he supports Mr Trump because “when he was president, there were no wars. No Ukraine-Russia. No Israel-Gaza”.

Thamar Corniel, a Trump supporter who was born in the Dominican Republic, said: “He’s America first.”

Mr Trump has increasingly attempted to make inroads with minority communities in the hopes they can make a difference in crucial swing states.

Mr Biden and Mr Trump are locked in a tight race ahead of the 5 November election.

In April, during a break from his criminal hush-money trial in New York, Mr Trump stopped by a Harlem corner store.

He also spoke at a gala for the Black Conservative Federation, an organisation that works to expand Republican support with black voters, and has hired a black media director, Janiyah Thomas.

But there have been missteps.

In February, he was criticised for saying that his four criminal indictments boost his appeal with black Americans because they see him as a victim of discrimination.

A recent New York Times and Sienna poll indicated that Mr Trump is beating Mr Biden in five battleground states, in part due to black and Latino voters drifting away from the Democratic party.

President Biden has taken notice – that bloc was crucial to his win in 2020 – and has spent millions of dollars in targeted advertising blitzes.

Young voters and non-white voters appear to be losing faith in Mr Biden and the Democrats as they grow frustrated with issues like inflation and the White House’s support for Israel.

During President Biden’s recent commencement address at Morehouse University, a historically black college, several graduates turned their backs on the president during the ceremony in protest of hos handling of the war in Gaza.

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