Trump Visits a Construction Site in Manhattan Before His Trial Resumes


Hours before he was set to return to the courthouse for his criminal trial in Manhattan, former President Donald J. Trump started Thursday morning by visiting a construction site in a campaign stop that exemplified the balancing act required for a candidate who is also a criminal defendant.

In the shadow of what will eventually be the 70-story headquarters of one of the nation’s biggest banks, Mr. Trump shook hands with union workers in a visit meant to highlight his support from working-class voters and draw attention to his criticism of President Biden’s economic policies.

His warm reception — a cheering crowd of roughly 100 people gathered behind him, chanting “we want Trump” — marked a stark contrast from the sober environment of the courthouse where Mr. Trump has spent most weekdays since his trial began last week, and where his comments have largely been limited to addressing reporters in the hallway during breaks.

Mr. Trump has not held a rally since just before the trial began, in part because a planned event in North Carolina last weekend was canceled because of weather. But his visit to the construction site typifies how his campaign is using retail stops in New York, a left-leaning state not expected to be in play in November, to help broadcast his national message.

“I have a lot of support here,” Mr. Trump said, as roughly two dozen workers clambered up scaffolding and equipment to catch a glimpse of him. Among those in the crowd were members of the Teamsters union, whose endorsement Mr. Trump has been courting.

The trip to the construction site kicks off what will be a significant day in Mr. Trump’s legal battles. In Manhattan, where Mr. Trump is accused of falsifying business records, David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, is expected to return to the stand and detail the hush-money payment at the center of his case. Asked by reporters, Mr. Trump said that Mr. Pecker had been “very nice” and called him a “nice guy.”

In Washington, the Supreme Court will consider Mr. Trump’s argument that he is immune from prosecution on federal charges that he plotted to subvert the 2020 election. Mr. Trump, who will likely be in the Manhattan courtroom during the oral arguments before the Supreme Court, repeated an argument he has been making for months that “a president has to have immunity, otherwise you just have a ceremonial president.”

Mr. Trump’s appeal to working-class voters was key to his victory in 2016, and as he tries to return to the White House, he has been eager to win the support of rank-and-file union members and to drive a wedge between them and labor leaders who have long favored Democrats.

In January, Mr. Trump met with the Teamsters union’s executive board and said he believed he had a “good shot” at securing the influential union’s endorsement. The union endorsed Mr. Biden in 2020, and its leaders met with the president last month.

Mr. Biden has for years touted his allegiance to unions. On Wednesday he received the endorsement of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, an umbrella group whose leaders pointed to Mr. Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package.

Jason Miller, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said that Thursday’s visit had been “on the books for some time” and was part of the campaign’s larger strategy to contend with the scheduling challenges posed by the Manhattan trial.

“Since the Biden Trials are an attempt to keep us off the campaign trail, we’ll bring the campaign trail to us,” he said. Mr. Trump has said without citing evidence that the charges are part of an “election interference” scheme orchestrated by Mr. Biden.



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