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The Bronx gives a Bronx cheer to Donald Trump

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Born and bred in the Bronx, I grew up in public housing (i.e. “the projects) right across the street from the formerly named “Trump Links,” a gilded golf course subsidized by more than $100 billion in corporate welfare from New York City’s government coffers. (Free market-capitalism for thee but not for Trump, who never seems to be held to the same standard as the rest of us).

The construction of Trump Links on Ferry Point Park, long neglected, symbolically brought with it a skunk infestation to Throggs Neck Houses, where I lived until my early 20s. It would be fair to say that I have been smelling, both literally and figuratively, the stench of Donald Trump long before he became President.

The odious Donald Trump is returning to the Bronx, which, despite all the progress it has made, remains one of the poorest counties in the nation. One of the reasons for the persistent poverty of the Bronx has been the far-right fanaticism that Trump himself embodies. From the moment he entered politics, Trump has been waging war on the American poor, targeting anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which feeds 40 million Americans.

Congressional Republicans, who take marching orders from Trump, have long been on a crusade to “starve the beast” and dismantle the social safety net on which hundreds of thousands of Bronx families depend for their survival. During the right-wing brinkmanship that put at risk the full faith and credit of the United States, House Republicans made it their mission to slash the SNAP program, even though it offers an average of $2 a day. Slashing a $2 food budget is not about sensibly reducing the deficit. It’s about senselessly inflicting pain on the poor, whom Republicans have long caricatured as undeserving “welfare queens.”

To put a finer point on it, in the same week that Trump plans to desecrate Crotona Park in the Bronx, his enablers back in D.C. — House Republicans — have unveiled a farm bill that proposes the steepest cuts to SNAP in nearly three decades.

The South Bronx is home to one of the largest public housing communities in the country. Although public housing is a federal obligation, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the nation’s largest provider of affordable housing, has been federally defunded for decades, largely at the hands of Republicans, leaving it with a crushing burden of $80 billion in needs for repairs. For New Yorkers like my mother who call public housing home, Trump left them behind — like a slumlord abandoning his tenants.

Neither Trump nor the Republican Party is a friend of the South Bronx. Faced with 91 felony counts, Trump is a criminal suspect whose priority is self-preservation by self-pardon, the path to which runs through his presidency. The only place in the Bronx where Trump has any business being is in Bronx Criminal Court on 161st St. and the Grand Concourse.

Even before inciting an insurrection against the United States Congress on Jan. 6, Trump fundamentally failed the American people with presidential malfeasance and mismanagement. Nowhere has his failure been more deeply felt than in the Bronx, where COVID-19 left a death toll of more than 7,000 — greater than the combined death count of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of the global pandemic brought preventable death and devastation to the Bronx, which is still reeling from the aftershocks of COVID. Instead of holding a rally at Crotona Park, Trump owes the Bronx an apology for the lasting damage he has done.

The Bronx is the bluest county in America. Is Trump so arrogant as to believe that he is the one Republican who can compete in the bluest Congressional District? In answering that question, one must be reminded of who Trump is: a malignant narcissist with boundless delusions of grandeur.

He once declared himself the best president ever for African-Americans — even surpassing Abraham Lincoln! If only Lincoln had read “The Art of the Deal,” he tells himself, the Civil War would have been averted, just like Oct. 7 or 9/11 or every human tragedy that has ever transpired would have been prevented by the omnipotence that Trump seems to attribute to himself.

Any megalomaniac who ranks himself above Lincoln is too dangerously delusional to be anywhere near the Bronx, let alone the White House.

In announcing his MAGA rally at Crotona Park, the former host of the “Celebrity Apprentice” is pretending to be a friend of the Bronx. But with friends like Trump, who needs enemies?

We in the Bronx know who our true friends are. Come November, the Bronx will deliver Donald Trump, who is no friend of ours, a rude awakening: You’re fired!

Torres is a congressman from the Bronx.

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