No, Trump Did Not Promise a ‘Bloodbath’ of Political Violence If He Loses in November

NBC, CNN, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone are just some of the outlets running with a ‘bloodbath’ narrative that ignores the context of Mr. Trump’s remarks.

AP/Jeff Dean
President Trump speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Vandalia, Ohio. AP/Jeff Dean

The mainstream and legacy press is facing intense criticism online after running with headlines claiming that President Trump promised “a bloodbath” in America should he lose the upcoming election. In reality, Mr. Trump warned that four more years of President Biden would be a bloodbath for auto industry employees across the country. 

On Saturday, while speaking at a rally in Ohio ahead of a primary election, Mr. Trump went off-script following a teleprompter malfunction. At one point, he said that if he is not elected in November, it would be a “bloodbath” for working Americans who have been treated unfairly by China.

“If you’re listening, President Xi … we’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car” made in Chinese plants in Mexico, the former president said. “You’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected. Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath … for the country. We’re not going to sell those cars. They’re building massive factories.”

Immediately after Mr. Trump made the unscripted comments, mainstream and legacy press outlets began running stories stating that Mr. Trump promised a “bloodbath” against his political enemies. NBC, CNN, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Rolling Stone are just some of the outlets to run with such headlines, refusing to mention the context of the remarks. 

The bloodbath headlines have captured the attention of many Trump critics. Speaker Pelosi on Sunday went on CNN to highlight his comments. “We just have to win this election because he’s even predicting a bloodbath,” the former speaker said. “What does that mean? He’s going to exact a bloodbath? There’s something wrong here.”

Senator Cassidy — a Republican who voted to convict Mr. Trump in the Senate trial over January 6 and has so far refused to endorse the presumptive presidential nominee — says that the former president’s rhetoric is concerning. In an appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Mr. Cassidy noted that Mr. Trump was talking about an economic bloodbath, not a literal one. 

“If you take the one about the bloodbath, which arguably could be about an economic bloodbath, not about kind of street violence related to the election, then it gives his defenders something to focus on, something which was distorted. So, yes, he always walks up to the edge on that rhetoric. And again, that’s why people are concerned,” Mr. Cassidy said. 

The senator said the press is partly to blame for these kinds of distortions. Using out-of-context remarks to garner clicks only feeds into the acrimony, he said. “The mainstream media, whether they want to or not, can’t resist, and they go just a little bit too far which distracts from what could be the impact,” Mr. Cassidy warned.

One Democrat just came out and told the media to use the out-of-context bloodbath comments as the lead of any stories they write about Mr. Trump’s rally. “Headline writers: Don’t outsmart yourself. Just do ‘Trump Promises Bloodbath if he Doesn’t Win Election,’” Senator Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said on Saturday night. 

In a statement to the Associated Press, the Biden campaign stuck with the inaccurate viral moment instead of the truth, weaving the bloodbath comment into a story about Mr. Trump’s comments about political violence. Campaign spokesman James Singer said that Mr. Trump “wants another January 6, but the American people are going to give him another electoral defeat this November because they continue to reject his extremism.”

Mr. Trump’s spokesman, Steven Cheung, refuted that characterization and said in a message that “Crooked Joe Biden and his campaign are engaging in deceptively out-of-context editing.”

The New York Sun

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