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Trump repeats ‘blood bath’ rhetoric on migrants

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                                Former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event at a convention center in Grand Rapids, Mich., today. Trump returned to the campaign trail here, today, accusing President Joe Biden of fostering a “border blood bath.”


    Former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event at a convention center in Grand Rapids, Mich., today. Trump returned to the campaign trail here, today, accusing President Joe Biden of fostering a “border blood bath.”

GREEN BAY, Wis. >> Former President Donald Trump again cast President Joe Biden’s immigration record in violent and ominous terms today, accusing him of creating a “border blood bath” and once more using dehumanizing language to describe some migrants entering the country illegally.

In a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump, flanked by law enforcement officers, reiterated his baseless claim that other countries were sending “prisoners, murderers, drug dealers, mental patients and terrorists, the worst they have” to the United States. Immigration officials have said that most of the people crossing the border are members of vulnerable families escaping poverty and violence.

Trump also used his speech, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, to defend his use of dehumanizing language to refer to immigrants accused of crimes. After referring to the man who the authorities say killed a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia in February, Trump said: “Democrats said please don’t call them ‘animals.’ I said no, they’re not humans, they’re animals.”

Trump drew attention last month when, while discussing the U.S. auto industry, he predicted a “blood bath for the country” should he lose in November. After critics accused him of stoking violence, Trump and his allies pointed back to Biden, insisting he was responsible for a “blood bath” because of his immigration policies.

The former president has repeatedly criticized Biden, accusing him of maintaining lax border security that he blames for violent crime, though available data does not support the idea that migrants are contributing to increases in crime.

Trump’s campaign appears to be trying to turn “blood bath” into a catchphrase, essentially trolling his critics and shifting the focus to Biden. The Republican National Committee, which the Trump campaign now effectively controls, introduced today a website,, that mirrors Trump’s argument that Biden is responsible for an “invasion” at the United States’ border with Mexico. The site highlights a number of violent crimes in which immigrants in the country illegally have been accused.

But his remarks in Michigan also demonstrated how the former president has tried to stoke fears around immigration and border security in the 2024 election, a tactic he used effectively in 2016. Republicans have been eager to keep the issue at the top of voters’ minds in a bid to chip away at Biden’s support.

“This is country-changing, it’s country-threatening, and it’s country-wrecking,” Trump said of migrants crossing the southern border. “They have wrecked our country.”

Democrats have pushed back against that framing. Ahead of Trump’s visit to Michigan, the Democratic National Committee put up billboards near Grand Rapids referring to a bipartisan border bill that fell apart in the Senate after Trump pressed Republicans to block it. The billboards claimed that “Donald Trump broke the border” and that the former president wanted only “chaos, not solutions.”

Trump’s speech was his first campaign event after a weekslong break from the trail, during which he raised money, contended with legal issues, and blasted his political and legal opponents on social media.

Trump has seized on high-profile crimes involving immigrants to try to make inroads in key battleground states, including Michigan, connecting the influx of migrants at the southern border to states hundreds of miles away.

He said today that “once peaceful suburban Michigan” was coming “under an invasion” and spoke of the recent killing of Ruby Garcia, who was found dead on the side of a highway in Grand Rapids last month. Authorities have said that Garcia was dating the man accused of killing her, who entered the country illegally as a child and was deported to Mexico in 2020.

Michigan Democrats blasted Trump’s references to Garcia in remarks before his appearance. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Trump was “exploiting” Garcia’s death and called his response “shameful.” And while Trump said in Michigan that he had spoken with some of Garcia’s family, her sister told a local television station that Trump “did not speak with us.”

During Trump’s event, his campaign handed out packets to reporters that highlighted other people who the campaign said had been affected by crimes involving immigrants in the country illegally. They included Laken Riley, the Georgia nursing student whose death has become a flashpoint among Republicans. Authorities say Riley was killed by a Venezuelan migrant who had entered the country illegally.

Peter Hoekstra, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, said “it’s clear immigration and the economy are going to dominate the debate here in Michigan.” He added that he believed voters in the state “look at what’s happening on the border, and it’s hard for them to believe exactly what they’re seeing, that there’s no rule of law.”

Democrats, for their part, continued their efforts today to make abortion rights a key campaign issue. Although Biden did not hold public campaign events, his campaign seized on a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court on Monday that allowed the state’s six-week abortion ban but also put abortion access on the ballot there this fall.

There is little indication that Biden will devote significant time and resources to competing in Florida. But his campaign released a television ad that it plans to run in Michigan and other battleground states that attacked Trump for statements claiming credit for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022.

The two campaigns’ contrasting messages today are central to their efforts to win over the moderate, independent and undecided voters who will be critical in swing states including Michigan, which voted for Trump in 2016 but flipped to Biden four years later.

A senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Brian Hughes, addressed the Florida ruling in a statement, saying that Trump supports states’ rights and thinks “voters should have the last word.” After his remarks in Michigan, Trump responded to a reporter’s question about the ruling by saying that his campaign would “be making a statement next week” on abortion.

A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, Aida Ross, said in a statement: “We don’t need to wait until next week to know where Donald Trump stands on abortion — he has been peddling the same anti-choice extremism for years.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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