Donald Trump just got a huge endorsement from what many Republican supporters would consider to be one of the most unlikely of sources.

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s own views.

Trump visited Manhattan bodega workers on Tuesday following his second day in court. The Bodega Association extended the invitation to discuss concerns about crime, which members argue poses a danger to bodega and deli workers. Trump, attending the meeting directly from court where he is a defendant in a criminal trial, expressed his support for law and order. Dozens of people lined the streets of Upper Manhattan to greet the former President.

Consequently, thousands of New York City bodegas have rallied behind Trump, representing a notable political endorsement from one of the city’s most prevalent and cherished institutions. The decision has caught some by surprise, given the city’s typically liberal reputation.

During his visit to a Harlem bodega, Trump reiterated his stance on crime, a central theme of his 2024 campaign. The bodega was the same store where, two years earlier, then-clerk Jose Alba faced charges of murder following a confrontation behind the counter that resulted in the death of a man who was assaulting him.

“You know where the crime is, in the bodegas where they come and rob them every week,” Trump said during his visit.

“We need more public safety, and I really support that. Anyone who comes to support the public safety, we really appreciate,” Francisco Marte, President of the Bodega Association.

The former president’s message resonated with many attendees, including Diane Rivera-Lopez, a local supporter, who told CBS, “I think he did the right thing. By coming to support Alba, he actually showed that he even cares for the little man.”

The Bodega and Small Business Group, representing thousands of New York City bodegas, released a statement endorsing Trump and condemning Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. They criticized local politicians for neglecting the city’s rampant crime issues.

“The Bodega and Small Business Group (BSBG)… is honored to host former President Donald J. Trump at the Blue Moon bodega in Manhattan, where Jose Alba was arrested for merely defending himself and his business against a convicted felon,” the statement read.

“The Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, only backed off after an angry public campaign from store owners and their supporters united behind Mr. Alba and his Constitutional rights. The Bodega and Small Business Group appreciates President Trump’s support on behalf of tougher enforcement for retail thieves that are making our stores more dangerous and less profitable at the same time.”

“President Trump’s visit and support comes at a time when our own state legislators have refused to strengthen the laws against repeat retail theft offenders: ‘Legislative Democrats have formally rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to make it a felony for assaulting a retail worker, a reflection of how the party remains split over criminal justice issues and how to address voters’ concerns over public safety,'” the statement added.

Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.