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‘Blood bath’ remarks give Trump a new firestorm to rally around

Former President Trump and his allies are aggressively pushing back after Democrats and critics seized on his comments that there would be a “blood bath” if he loses November’s election.

Trump’s weekend comments sparked outrage that the former president was threatening to unleash violence similar to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol if he loses his reelection bid to President Biden.

“It’s clear this guy wants another January 6,” Biden wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after the blood bath remarks quickly went viral. “But the American people are going to give him another resounding electoral defeat this November.”

Trump and his allies have expressed exasperation and anger over the ensuing firestorm, claiming it was clear in context the former president was discussing economic effects to the auto industry.

“The Fake News Media, and their Democrat Partners in the destruction of our Nation, pretended to be shocked at my use of the word BLOODBATH, even though they fully understood that I was simply referring to imports allowed by Crooked Joe Biden, which are killing the automobile industry,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

The remarks in question came at a rally in Ohio on Saturday in support of Bernie Moreno, a candidate in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary contest. Trump at one point warned China against attempting to open up factories in Mexico to sell cars to the United States.

“No, we’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected,” Trump said. “Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a blood bath for the country. That’ll be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars, they’re building massive factories.”

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Trump’s comments underscored the stakes of November’s election for Democrats.

“What does that mean? He’s going to exact a blood bath?” Pelosi said on CNN. “There’s something wrong here. How respectful I am of the American people and their goodness — but how much more do they have to see from him to understand that this isn’t what our country is about?”

Some Republicans who thought Trump’s remarks were being taken out of context suggested Trump is baiting his critics, which gives his defenders a reason to rally around him.

“If you take the one about the blood bath, which arguably could be about an economic blood bath, not about kind of street violence related to the election, then it gives his defenders something to focus on, something which was distorted,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, told “Meet the Press.”

“So, yes, he always walks up to the edge on that rhetoric,” he added. “And again, that’s why people are concerned.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who leads the Senate GOP’s campaign operation, called it “shocking that the media continues to push such easily disprovable lies to smear Trump.”

Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), who is considered a potential running mate for Trump, called the latest attacks on the former president “ridiculous.”

Even former Vice President Mike Pence, who announced Friday he would not endorse Trump in the election, told “Face the Nation” that Trump was “clearly talking about the impact of imports devastating the American automotive industry.”

Trump’s critics argued there is little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Trump is facing criminal charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated with the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., for a “wild” rally and that morning urged them to march to the Capitol. He praised rioters as “patriots” and has since referred to those imprisoned for their actions that day as “hostages.”

Biden has repeatedly cited Trump’s comments that there were “very fine people” on both sides after white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters in a deadly 2017 incident in Charlottesville, Va.

During a 2020 debate, Trump told the Proud Boys, a far-right group, to “stand back and stand by,” remarks he had to later clarify.

And Trump has in recent weeks ratcheted up his attacks on migrants, saying they’re “poisoning the blood” of the country. On Saturday, he said he considers some migrants “animals” who are in some cases “not people.”

“What I heard was a continuation of the same rhetoric, the same endorsement of political violence that we’ve seen from Donald Trump for years,” Michael Tyler, communications director for the Biden campaign, said on MSNBC.

“So it’s not simply one comment. This is exactly who Donald Trump is, and this is exactly the threat that he poses to our democracy every single day,” Tyler added.

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