Trump Attends Wake of Slain NYPD Officer

The former president has criticized President Joe Biden for crime surges in cities such as New York, making it a central facet of his 2024 campaign.

A wake for the first New York Police Department officer slain in the past two years had one particularly high-profile attendee on March 28 with former President Donald Trump, who is looking to make crime reduction central to his campaign as he takes on President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller, 31, was fatally shot on March 25 after he and his partner approached an illegally parked SUV at a bus stop. A man inside shot Mr. Diller below his bulletproof vest, and the officer’s partner returned fire, injuring the suspected shooter.

Paramedics took Mr. Diller to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries, authorities said. The officer had been with the NYPD for three years and was married with a 1-year-old son, according to Police Commissioner Edward Caban.

“We struggle to find the words to express the tragedy of losing one of our own,” Mr. Caban wrote in a post on social media.

President Trump arrived at about 2 p.m. at Mr. Diller’s wake at a funeral home in Massapequa Park, New York, and was seen shaking hands and joining grieving relatives and the hundreds of uniformed police officers who attended the service.

President Biden is scheduled to attend a fundraiser hours later at Radio City Music Hall with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert. The event is slated to host more than 5,000 attendees.

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Some Republicans are already comparing the two presidents’ chosen events on March 28, as President Trump leans in and criticizes President Biden and Democrats’ crime policies in major cities such as New York.

Trump’s Support for Crime Victims

Discussing the crime increase in some metropolitan cities, many of which have Democrat leaders, is a central part of President Trump’s 2024 campaign strategy. Attending Mr. Diller’s wake is another reminder of the former president’s focus on crime.

“President Trump is moved by the invitation to join NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller’s family and colleagues as they deal with his senseless and tragic death,” President Trump’s campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

A similar comparison between Presidents Biden and Trump played out in early March as the two campaigned in Georgia, and both warned voters of the country’s future if either candidate’s opponent won the 2024 race for the White House.

President Trump, at the time, visited the family of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student from the University of Georgia who was beaten to death while she was on a morning run in February. An illegal immigrant from Venezuela was arrested and charged with murder for the killing of Ms. Riley, authorities said.

The former president posted about Mr. Diller on his social media network Truth Social on March 26, saying he would pray for the officer’s family, and he extended gratitude to law enforcement officials. In the post, he called Mr. Diller’s accused killer, Guy Rivera, a “thug” and pointed out the man’s previous arrest record.

“[Mr. Rivera] NEVER should have been let back out on the streets,” President Trump said in his post.

Police also arrested Lindy Jones, 41, after the shooting, who was the alleged driver of the SUV that had Mr. Rivera in the passenger seat.

Police say Mr. Diller ordered Mr. Rivera to get out of the vehicle before the man refused and shot Mr. Diller below his bulletproof vest, fatally injuring the officer.

New York Police Department Officer Jonathan Diller. (New York City Police Department via AP)
New York Police Department Officer Jonathan Diller. (New York City Police Department via AP)

Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said at a news conference following the shooting that Mr. Rivera was given a “lawful order numerous times to step out of the car.”

“He refused. And when the officers took him out of the car, rather than stepping out of the car, he shot [Mr. Diller].”

Mr. Diller’s partner fired back at Mr. Rivera and struck him in his back, leading to the alleged shooter’s hospitalization.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, also a former police officer, said on March 26, “These are bad people doing bad things to good people. It’s the good guys against the bad guys.”

Mr. Diller’s wake was hosted on March 28 and his funeral is planned for March 30 at the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Massapequa.

Biden Fundraising at Radio City

President Biden’s fundraising event is an effort to build on Democrats’ existing cash advantage over President Trump.

The event will see attendance of more than 5,000 people and even more people watching livestreams online. Tickets for in-person attendees start at $250, photos with the three presidents cost $100,000, and tickets to attend the events receptions go as high as $500,000.

President Biden’s campaign said the event would break fundraising records and pull in roughly $25 million in a single night.

President Joe Biden (L) and former President Barack Obama step off Air Force One upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City on March 28, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden (L) and former President Barack Obama step off Air Force One upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City on March 28, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

The fundraiser comes as President Biden looks to make a comeback in recent polls that have favored President Trump while also pushing back on concerns about his age, 81, as he seeks a second term in the White House.

Leon Panetta, a former administration official for both Presidents Clinton and Obama, commented on the event.

“There is everything to be gained by Joe Biden standing next to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama,” he said, adding that such an image would be worth a lot in the current political cycle.

The collaboration between past and present senior figures in the Democratic Party is somewhat absent in President Trump’s camp, as two previous Republican leaders have opted against endorsing him, including his own former vice president, Mike Pence.

Former President George W. Bush, who is the only living former Republican president, has not endorsed President Trump.

However, President Trump has dominated polls within the GOP while becoming the presumptive 2024 presidential nominee.

He is also currently leading President Biden in polling ahead of the November election, but analysts are puzzled about a potential spoiler candidate in Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Some say he will take more votes from President Biden as a former Democrat, but others claim he would instead appeal to voters on the right who might feel disenchanted by President Trump and the GOP establishment, including those who supported former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primaries.

A March 27 Quinnipiac poll has President Trump with a 1-point advantage at 39 percent, President Biden trailing with 38 percent, and Mr. Kennedy with 13 percent. Third-party candidates Jill Stein and Cornel West polled at 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, according to RealClearPolitics.

However, a March 26 YouGov poll shows a different point spread, with 44 percent supporting President Trump, 43 percent supporting President Biden, just 3 percent for Mr. Kennedy, and 1 percent for Ms. Stein. Mr. West received zero percent support in the poll, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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