Trump campaigns at a bodega in his Democratic hometown after court. (Part-1)

New York— After leaving a Manhattan courtroom, Donald Trump visited a New York bodega where a man was stabbed to death, a stark turn for the former president, who is both a criminal defendant and a Republican challenger who wants to blame Joe Biden for crime.  

Trump visited Sanaa Convenient Store, a small chip, drink, and snack shop. Trump officials say the former president and presumptive GOP nominee chose the business after a violent attack on an employee, which drew widespread criticism for the district attorney pursuing him. Trump made his first campaign appearance since his criminal hush money trial, making him the first former president to face charges.  

Trump will spend most days in court, restricting his capacity to campaign, fundraise, and make calls. Biden campaigned Tuesday in Pennsylvania, a vital battleground state. Trump advisers have planned rallies and other political activities for weekends and Wednesdays, when court is not in session. More local appearances by Trump following court recesses each day are planned.  

Trump has attacked Democratic-run cities as crime-ridden and swamped with migrants from Mexico for months, even while violent crime has fallen in the U.S. Trump's Harlem campaign combined that familiar, if overstated, rhetoric with his promise to win his own state despite its Democratic lean.  

“They want law and order... every week they’re being robbed,” Trump claimed of New York firms, comparing his prosecution to street crime. “You know the crime scene? In the bodegas.” Despite Trump's claims, FBI data shows that violent crime declined nationwide in 2023 after COVID-19-era surges in 2020. Since the pandemic peaked, NYC crime has plummeted.  

At the store Trump visited in Hamilton Heights, a heavily Hispanic part of Harlem, 35-year-old Austin Simon attacked Jose Alba, a clerk. After the videotaped fight, Alba fatally stabbed Simon. Alba, a Dominican immigrant, was arrested and charged with murder, but the Manhattan district attorney dismissed the charges within weeks, saying Alba acted in self-defense.  

Before his arrival, Trump's campaign sent press documents slamming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's stabbing case, including Alba's time in Rikers Island. Bragg manages Trump's prosecution. After Trump's plans were revealed Tuesday, Bragg's office responded.  

The statement said Simon's death and Alba's case were "resolved nearly two years ago, and the charges were dismissed after a thorough investigation." “D.A. Bragg's top priority remains combating violent crime, and the office has worked with the NYPD to reduce Manhattan crime.”  

Over the past two years, Manhattan killings and gunshots have dropped by double digits, according to Bragg's office. Trump's team suggested the convenience store visit would show growing consumer prices under Biden. However, Trump focused on his portrayal of New York crime and his claim that the justice system is letting criminals go free.  

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