Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Bodega: Calls for Tougher Crime Measures

Former President Donald Trump made a high-profile visit Tuesday to a Manhattan bodega in Harlem where clerk Jose Alba got into a lethal altercation that resulted in the death of an ex-con in 2022. Trump’s appearance at the Sanaa Convenient Store, formerly known as the Blue Moon Convenient Store, where Alba defended himself against an assailant aimed to show support for the store’s co-owner, Maad Ahmed, and advocate for stricter law enforcement measures.

Talking with Ahmed and small business advocate Francisco Marte, Trump spoke on the challenges facing businesses in crime-stricken neighborhoods not only in New York City, but across the nation. “Every week they’re being robbed two or three times, it’s crazy. You know what? The police can stop it but they have to be allowed to do their job,” Trump said.

In an interview with the New York Post, Ahmed, who immigrated from Yemen and is a U.S. citizen, told reporters “I have never voted, because I’ve been working, but this time I will.

We need Donald Trump back in the White House because he’s a strong guy.” Ahmed, expressing his gratitude for Trump’s visit, stated, “What happened to Jose was very hard for me. Jose was defending himself from the guy who came behind the counter. All for $1 worth of chips.”

“You should be allowed to have a gun,” Trump told Ahmed and other workers at the bodega. “If you had a gun, you’d never get robbed, you’d never get robbed, that would be the end of it.”

Ahmed and Marte shared their perspectives on the challenges faced by small businesses, telling the former president that the store is still facing constant crime. Marte, the president of the New York Bodega and Small Business Association, underscored the significance of Alba’s plight in stating, “This store was where the fight against the liberal laws started, when they were charging Jose Alba with murder for defending himself. The fight against those liberals started here.”

Alba, 61, was charged with second-degree murder and spent almost a week in jail after a dispute over chips with ex-con Austin Simon, 35, turned deadly when Simon’s girlfriend, Tina Lee, stabbed Alba and then he fatally knifed Simon during the fight in July 2022. The fight was caught on camera and received national coverage, the DA’s office eventually dropped the charges after concluding there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Alba “was not justified in his use of deadly physical force.”

Trump criticized the DA for having misplaced priorities in prosecuting him whilst allowing crimes such as what happened at the bodega to go on unabated. “Alvin Bragg does nothing, he goes after guys like Trump who did nothing wrong. Violent killers and murderers … There are hundreds of murderers all over the city, they [authorities] know who they are, and they don’t pick them up. They go after Trump.”

“You have to stop crime and we’re going to let the police do their job. They have to be given back their authority. We’re making a big play in New York. I love this city and it’s gotten so bad in the last three years, four years, and we’re going to straighten New York out.”

In response to Trump’s remarks, Bragg’s office defended its record on combating crime and stressed its collaboration with law enforcement agencies. “D.A. Bragg’s top priority remains combating violent crime and the office has worked hand in hand with the NYPD to drive down overall crime in Manhattan, including double digit decreases in homicides and shootings since he took office,” the statement said.

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