Morning Chronicle - Trump reprises 'bloodbath' claim in immigration speech

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Trump reprises 'bloodbath' claim in immigration speech
Trump reprises 'bloodbath' claim in immigration speech / Photo: SAUL LOEB - AFP

Trump reprises 'bloodbath' claim in immigration speech

Donald Trump doubled down on his heavily criticized warning of a coming American "bloodbath" Tuesday as he told supporters US communities faced "plunder, rape and slaughter" at the hands of illegal immigrants.

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In some of his most inflammatory comments to date on border security, Trump accused President Joe Biden of unleashing "carnage, chaos and killing" in a country he said was flooded with drugs and besieged by foreign criminal gangs.

"I stand before you today to declare that Joe Biden's border bloodbath... it's a bloodbath, and it's destroying our country and it's a very bad thing happening," he said in an apocalyptic campaign speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"It's going to end on the day that I take office."

The former president -- who faces a rematch against Biden in November's election -- spoke out as the Republican National Committee launched, a website warning of an "invasion aided and abetted by Joe Biden."

While speaking about the potential loss of auto manufacturing jobs to foreign countries earlier this month in Ohio, Trump said if he wasn't reelected, "it's going to be a bloodbath for the country."

The Biden campaign and Democrats accused him of fomenting "political violence," prompting an indignant response from Trump aides who said it was clear the tycoon was using the term to describe economic devastation.

Trump is often criticized for using extreme language that experts fear increases the risk of violence, whether in social media posts about his multiple prosecutions or at his rallies.

- Violent crime dropping -

He referred to illegal immigrants accused of criminality as "animals" in his fire-and-brimstone Michigan speech, highlighting the killings of several young women, allegedly by foreign nationals.

"Under crooked Joe Biden every state is now a border state. Every town is now a border town," Trump thundered.

"Because Joe Biden has brought the carnage, chaos and killing from all over the world and dumped it straight into our backyards."

He vowed to stop the "plunder, rape, slaughter and destruction of our American suburbs, cities and towns."

While illegal border crossings hit record highs during Biden's presidency, violent crime -- in Michigan and nationwide -- has been dropping since it spiked under Trump during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

The speech came with the billionaire aiming to jumpstart his campaign with back-to-back rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin, two swing states crucial to his bid to defeat Biden.

The Republican faces more than 80 felony counts and has been in and out of court for much of the campaign, staging just one rally between his rematch with Biden being set nearly three weeks ago and Tuesday's event.

During an incendiary campaign, Trump has accused migrants of "poisoning the blood" of the country, sparking accusation that he was echoing Nazi language, and has vowed to "root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin" in America.

The Democratic National Committee accused Trump of hypocrisy on immigration, pointing to his pressure on Republicans in Congress to tank a recent cross-party deal that would have secured the most stringent border security measures in a generation.

- Swing states -

Tuesday's first address was something of a homecoming for Trump, who closed out his successful 2016 campaign in Grand Rapids, winning Michigan on the way to claiming the keys to the White House.

Biden flipped the state back to Democratic in 2020, but polls currently have Trump in the lead, and the election is likely to come down to the wire.

It is also predicted to be tight in neighboring Wisconsin, where Trump was set to begin his second rally at 6:00 pm (2200 GMT).

Biden has been on a blitz through the swing states in recent weeks, visiting Wisconsin and Michigan as well as Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

He holds a widening lead over his Republican rival in the fundraising stakes, while Trump is burning through money as he pays legal bills to battle multiple criminal and civil court cases.

Trump confirmed in Michigan that he had posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, pausing collection of the more than $500 million awarded against him in damages and interest and preventing the state from seizing his assets pending an appeal.