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Israel's military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Hamas attack on Oct. 7

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Israel's military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Hamas attack on Oct. 7
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Israel's military intelligence chief resigns over failure to prevent Hamas attack on Oct. 7

2024-04-22 23:53 Last Updated At:04-23 00:01

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The head of Israeli military intelligence said Monday he would resign because of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the stunning failure to anticipate or quickly respond to the deadliest assault in Israel's history.

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva's decision could set the stage for more resignations among top Israeli security officials. Hamas militants blasted through Israel's border defenses on Oct. 7, rampaging through communities unchallenged for hours and killing 1,200 people, most of them civilians, while taking roughly 250 hostages into Gaza.

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FILE - Palestinian Hamas militants transport Yarden Bibas to Gaza after kidnapping him from his home in Nir Oz, a kibbuz in Israel near the Gaza border, on Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The head of Israeli military intelligence said Monday he would resign because of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the stunning failure to anticipate or quickly respond to the deadliest assault in Israel's history.

FILE - An Israeli soldier stands by the bodies of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - An Israeli soldier stands by the bodies of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Israelis killed by Hamas militants lie on the road near Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israelis killed by Hamas militants lie on the road near Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian militants is seen in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian militants is seen in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Cars are on fire after they were hit by rockets from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Cars are on fire after they were hit by rockets from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

This image made from video provided December, 2023, by Israeli Defense Forces shows Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Haliva resigned on Monday, April 22, 2024, over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

This image made from video provided December, 2023, by Israeli Defense Forces shows Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Haliva resigned on Monday, April 22, 2024, over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HALIVA FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HALIVA FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliwa, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliwa, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

The attack set off the war against Hamas in Gaza, now in its seventh month.

“The intelligence directorate under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the horrible pain of the war with me forever,” Haliva wrote in his resignation letter, which was provided by the military.

Haliva said he would remain in his position until a replacement is found. He said he had intended to resign immediately after Oct. 7, but stayed on through the initial part of the war and was resigning as the army’s internal investigations gather pace.

His announcement came at the start of Passover, a major Jewish holiday, and as military operations in Gaza have slowed in recent weeks ahead of a possible offensive on the southern city of Rafah.

The timing of any resignations by security and military officials has been complicated by the ongoing war in Gaza and battles with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah along Israel's northern border. Tensions with Iran are also at a high following attacks between the two enemies.

Some military experts have said resignations at a time when Israel is engaged on multiple fronts is irresponsible and could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

Shortly after the attack, Haliva and others had publicly said that they shouldered blame for not preventing the Oct. 7 assault.

Other leaders have stopped short, most notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has said he will answer tough questions about his role but has not outright acknowledged direct responsibility for allowing the attack to unfold.

He has also refused to step down, even as a growing protest movement demands early elections.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid welcomed Haliva's resignation, saying it was “justified and dignified.”

“It would be appropriate for Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the same,” he wrote on the social media platform X.

The Hamas attack, which came on a Jewish holiday, caught Israel and its vaunted security establishment entirely off guard. Israelis' sense of faith in their military — seen by most Jews as one of the country's most trustworthy institutions — was shattered in the face of Hamas' onslaught. The resignation could help restore some of that trust.

The resignation came as Jews around the world prepared to celebrate Passover, a weeklong holiday that begins Monday evening and marks the biblical exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt. With roughly 130 people still held captive in Gaza, Passover is certain to take on a more somber hue this year: for many Israelis, it’s hard to fathom a celebration of freedom when dozens of people are still being held hostage.

“As we gather around the Seder table to commemorate and celebrate our journey from slavery to freedom, our hearts are heavy with the plight of the 133 Israelis who remain in captivity,” Netanyahu wrote on X. “Our resolve remains unyielding to see all hostages back with their families.”

Hamas' attack set off the devastating war that has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the local health ministry. The ministry's count doesn't distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, but it says at least two-thirds of the dead are children and women.

The fighting has devastated Gaza’s two largest cities and driven 80% of the population to flee to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave. The war has sparked a humanitarian crisis that has drawn warnings of imminent famine.

The attack also sent shock waves through the region. Beyond Hezbollah and Iran, tensions have rocked the Israeli-occupied West Bank and reverberated within Israel itself.

On Monday, Israeli police said that a car had slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem, wounding three lightly. Security camera video showed two men exiting the car with a rifle before fleeing the scene. Police later said they arrested the two men.

This story has been edited to correct the spelling of Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva's surname.

Associated Press writer Julia Frankel contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

FILE - Palestinian Hamas militants transport Yarden Bibas to Gaza after kidnapping him from his home in Nir Oz, a kibbuz in Israel near the Gaza border, on Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

FILE - Palestinian Hamas militants transport Yarden Bibas to Gaza after kidnapping him from his home in Nir Oz, a kibbuz in Israel near the Gaza border, on Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

FILE - An Israeli soldier stands by the bodies of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - An Israeli soldier stands by the bodies of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed militants who entered from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Israelis killed by Hamas militants lie on the road near Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israelis killed by Hamas militants lie on the road near Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian militants is seen in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - A car destroyed in an attack by Palestinian militants is seen in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - Cars are on fire after they were hit by rockets from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Cars are on fire after they were hit by rockets from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel's military intelligence directorate resigned on Monday April 22, 2024 over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

This image made from video provided December, 2023, by Israeli Defense Forces shows Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Haliva resigned on Monday, April 22, 2024, over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

This image made from video provided December, 2023, by Israeli Defense Forces shows Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Haliva resigned on Monday, April 22, 2024, over the failures surrounding Hamas' unprecedented Oct. 7 attack, the military said, becoming the first senior figure to step down over his role in the deadliest assault in Israel's history. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HALIVA FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO HALIVA FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliwa, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

FILE - Israeli soldier walks by a pickup truck used by Palestinian militants in Sderot, Israel, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Israeli military said Monday April 22, 2024 that the head of its intelligence corps has resigned over Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Aharon Haliwa, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, becomes the first senior Israeli figure to step down over the failures surrounding Hamas’ attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

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Trump holds a rally in the South Bronx as he tries to woo his hometown

2024-05-25 00:18 Last Updated At:00:21

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has campaigned in one of the most Democratic counties in the nation, holding a rally in the South Bronx as he tries to woo minority voters days before a Manhattan jury will begin deliberations on whether to convict him of felony charges in his criminal hush money trial.

Trump on Thursday addressed supporters in Crotona Park, a public green space in a neighborhood that is among the city's most diverse and its most impoverished, a change from the majority-white areas where the Republican holds most of his rallies. While the crowd was not quite as diverse as the South Bronx as a whole, it included large numbers of Black and Hispanic voters, and Spanish was heard throughout the crowd.

Trump, in his speech, cast himself as a better president for Black and Hispanic voters than President Joe Biden as he railed against Biden on immigration, an issue Trump has made central to his campaign. He insisted “the biggest negative impact” of the influx of migrants in New York is “against our Black population and our Hispanic population who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose."

Some in the crowd responded by chanting, “Build the wall,” a reference to Trump's push while in the White House to build a U.S.-Mexico border barrier.

With Trump confined to New York for much of the last six weeks because of his trial, the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign has planned a series of local stops across his hometown before and after court. He visited a bodega in Harlem, dropped by a construction site and held a photo op at a local firehouse.

But the Bronx rally was his first event open to the general public as he insists he is making a play to win an overwhelmingly Democratic state that hasn’t backed a Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Besides creating a spectacle of rallygoers and protesters, the rally also gave Trump an opportunity to highlight what he argues are advantages on economic and immigration issues that could cut into key Democratic voting blocs.

“The strategy is to demonstrate to the voters of the Bronx and New York that this isn’t your typical presidential election, that Donald Trump is here to represent everybody and get our country back on track,” said Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds, a potential Trump running mate who grew up in Brooklyn.

The former president opened his rally with an ode to his hometown, talking about its humble beginnings as a small Dutch trading post before becoming a glamorous capital of culture that “inspired the entire world.” While Trump established residency in Florida in 2019, he reminisced on Thursday about his efforts to revitalize Central Park's Wollman Rink and people he knew in the real estate business.

“Everyone wanted to be here," he told the enthusiastic audience. “But sadly this is now a city in decline."

“If a New Yorker can’t save this country," he went on to say, “no one can.”

Trump called several people with local ties to the stage, including Donalds and the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., a former New York City Council member. He also brought up the local rappers Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow, who were indicted last year for conspiracy to commit murder by the Brooklyn district attorney's office.

Hours before Trump’s rally was set to begin, a long line of supporters decked out in red “Make America Great Again” hats and other Trump gear snaked around the park, waiting for security screening to begin. People were still entering the park well into Trump's speech, with some eager supporters sprinting up a hill toward the rally site after getting through security.

The Bronx Democratic Party protested Trump's appearance with its own event at the park.

Members of multiple unions were present, holding signs that said “The Bronx says no to Trump” in both English and Spanish.

“We are used to elected officials, to government officials, to opportunists of all kinds who come to our community and use our painful history,” said Democratic State Rep. Amanda Septimo, who represents the South Bronx. "They talk about the Bronx and everything that’s wrong with it, but they never get to the part that talks about what they’re going to do for the Bronx and we know that Trump is never going to get to that part in his speech.”

But some locals in the crowd Thursday disagreed.

Margarita Rosario, a 69-year-old who has lived in the borough for more than 60 years, said she saw Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on television the night before suggesting that the Bronx wouldn't support Trump. It spurred her to show up, holding a Trump flag and a poster that said, “Make America Great Again.”

“I got so annoyed with that. I said, ‘How dare she speak for the whole Bronx?’” Rosario said.

Muhammad Ali, a 50-year-old who lives in the Bronx and said he planned to vote for Trump in November, said he once used to think the former president was a racist but his views have changed.

“We need a patriotic president at the moment and I find Donald Trump more patriotic for the moment than Joe Biden,” said Ali, an immigrant from Bangladesh and worker for New York’s transportation agency.

At least one New Yorker in the crowd said he knew Trump from his days as a local billionaire real estate developer.

Alfredo Rosado, 62, said he’d been a Trump supporter since 1998 when he worked for several months as a fill-in summer doorman at Trump’s Trump Tower building.

Rosado recounted how Trump had asked his name and stopped to chat. “He’s the same person you see,” he said of the former president.

Trump’s campaign believes he can chip away at Biden's support among Black and Hispanic voters, particularly younger men who may not follow politics closely, but are frustrated by their economic situations and drawn to Trump’s tough-guy persona.

He's also argued the indictments he faces in New York and elsewhere make him relatable to Black voters frustrated by the criminal justice system, a statement that was harshly criticized by Biden's allies.

Biden’s campaign on Thursday released two ads aimed at undercutting Trump’s attempts to make inroads with Black voters, highlighting his propagation of the “birther” conspiracy against former President Barack Obama and his calls for the death penalty for five men wrongly convicted of rape in the 1989 Central Park Five case. A radio ad fictionalizing a conversation between a Trump campaign volunteer and a Black voter will air on national Black radio stations while a shorter television spot will air in major cities, in swing states and on digital platforms, aiming to reach voters in the Bronx near Trump’s rally.

The rally comes during a pause in Trump’s criminal hush money trial. Court will resume following the Memorial Day weekend with closing arguments. The jury will then decide whether Trump will become the first former president in the nation's history to be criminally convicted and whether he will be the first major party presidential candidate to run as a convicted felon.

The Bronx was once the most Democratic borough in the city. Barack Obama won 91.2% of the borough's vote in 2012, the highest in the state. Biden won 83.5% of the borough in 2020. Trump garnered only 16% of the vote.

The area Trump visited is overwhelmingly non-white — a departure from most of his rally locations. About 65% of residents are Hispanic and 31% Black, according to the U.S. Census data. About 35% live below the poverty line.

As he wrapped up his speech, Trump said he woke up Thursday uncertain of the reception he'd get in the Bronx.

"I said, ‘I wonder, will it be hostile or will it be friendly?’" he said. "It was beyond friendly. It was a lovefest.”

This story has been corrected to show the rappers were charged last year, not this month.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller in Washington and Liset Cruz in New York contributed to this report.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump prepares to speak at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump prepares to speak at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gather ahead of a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gather ahead of a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gather for a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gather for a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former Rep. George Santos, right, takes pictures with supporters outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Former Rep. George Santos, right, takes pictures with supporters outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

A banner in support of Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is set up before a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

A banner in support of Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is set up before a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump pick up posters ahead of a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump pick up posters ahead of a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York, Thursday, May. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with construction workers at the construction site of the new JPMorgan Chase headquarters in midtown Manhattan, April 25, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with construction workers at the construction site of the new JPMorgan Chase headquarters in midtown Manhattan, April 25, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)

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