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Beyond “Blood Bath”: Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Venom is the Tip of the Anti-Democratic Spear

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Washington, DC — Over the weekend, Donald Trump’s rants made clear what’s at stake for our democracy and the way he intends to weaponize immigration and related fears, lies, and conspiracies to pursue power. Contained within his ever-escalating attacks to dehumanize and make targets of immigrants are clearer and clearer calls to violence and an effort to lay the foundation for the rejection of any election results that do not go Trump’s way, which will again threaten our democracy should he lose.

The Trump comments that garnered the most attention this weekend were made at a Saturday rally in Ohio, noting that, “if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a blood bath … for the country.” Trump’s defenders pointed out the context, regarding the auto industry, to dismiss the supposed threat. Yet notably, even if you remove the “blood bath” component of Trump’s remarks or give him the undeserved benefit of the doubt, it still was a disqualifying and deeply chilling weekend.  Trump’s dangerous dehumanization of immigrants has predictable downstream outcomes and provokes more violence against immigrants and those who might be aiding them. Meanwhile, he doubled down to defend his “poisoning the blood” comments and proudly supports the January 6th insurrectionists. None of this is normal and all are reminders why his immigration rhetoric is inextricable from his anti-democratic threats.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“‘Blood bath’. Trump said it. It is violent language that leads to real violence. The hand wringing over context is irrelevant. Trump’s lurid lies and ugly conspiracies about immigrants and immigration are the types of dehumanizing and dangerous rhetoric that has led to multiple instances of real world violence. Yet the important denunciation of his nativist language – well beyond the ‘blood bath’ remarks – must also be understood in the context of his ongoing efforts to use immigration conspiracies to lay the groundwork to delegitimize election results and as a pretext for another violent assault on our democracy. Trump’s anti-immigrant language, his allusions to violence and his support for the January 6th insurrectionists aren’t different parts of his stump speech – they are all core planks of his larger anti-democratic strategy and pursuit of power.”

Beyond “blood bath,” this weekend also included former president:

  • Dehumanizing immigrants as “animals” and noting, “I don’t know if you call them people” – Per the New York Times coverage of the Ohio rally, Trump stated, “‘I don’t know if you call them ‘people,’ in some cases … They’re not people, in my opinion.’ He later referred to them as ‘animals.’” 
  • Defending his use of the immigrants are “poisoning the blood” comments, which are virtually indistinguishable from Hitler’s rhetoric – Given the chance on Fox News to distance himself or disavow those comments, Trump instead doubled down and repeated outlandish lies that have become customary at his rallies, “Because our country is being poisoned … mental institutions and insane asylums are being emptied out into the United States, and then you have terrorists pouring in at levels we have never seen before.”
  • Saluting violent felons as “patriots” and opening his rally with the January 6th insurrectionists’ version of the national anthem: As historian Brian Klaas noted, the Ohio rally started with Trump “saluting as he listened to a version of the national anthem sung by people in prison for violently trying to overturn an election on January 6th.” 

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