After Court, Trump Campaigns at Bodega

He visits Harlem store where clerk fatally stabbed attacker
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2024 7:38 PM CDT
After Court, Trump Campaigns in Harlem
Donald Trump gestures while visiting a bodega, Tuesday, April 16, 2024.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Fresh from a Manhattan courtroom, Donald Trump visited a New York bodega where a man was stabbed to death, a stark pivot for the former president as he juggles being a criminal defendant and the Republican challenger intent on blaming President Biden for crime. Trump stopped by Sanaa Convenient Store, a tiny bodega that sells chips, sodas, and other snacks. Trump aides said the former president chose the store because it has been the site of a violent attack on an employee, the AP reports. The visit was Trump's first campaign appearance since his criminal hush-money trial began.

"They want law and order ... every week they're being robbed," Trump said of businesses in New York, as he tried to compare his prosecution with the state of New York streets. "You know where the crime is? It's in the bodegas." Despite Trump's rhetoric, FBI statistics show overall violent crime in the US dropped considerably in 2023 after pandemic-era spikes that began in 2020, when Trump was president. Crime also has fallen in New York City. Still, in July 2022, Jose Alba, a clerk at the store Trump visited in Hamilton Heights, a heavily Hispanic section of Harlem, was attacked by 35-year-old Austin Simon. The resulting altercation, captured on surveillance video, ended with Alba fatally stabbing Simon.

Alba, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, was arrested and charged with murder but the Manhattan district attorney dropped the charges within weeks, saying they could not prove Alba had not acted in self-defense. Before his arrival, Trump's campaign distributed materials to journalists criticizing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his handling of the stabbing case, including the weeks Alba spent jailed at Rikers Island without bail. Bragg oversees the office now prosecuting Trump. Bragg's office said Tuesday that Simon's death and Alba's case were "resolved nearly two years ago, and the charges were dismissed after a thorough investigation."

story continues below

The former president's effort in Harlem on Tuesday affirms his intentions to campaign in his home state, even though New York remains overwhelmingly Democratic. In 2020, Biden garnered more than 60% of the vote in the state and ran up even wider margins in New York City. Trump insists he can win New York in November anyway, and he has mused about holding rallies in the South Bronx and Queens, where he was born and grew up, and even Madison Square Garden. "I may rent Madison Square Garden," he said in an interview with Breitbart News. "That's the belly of the beast, right?"

(More Donald Trump stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.