News and Analysis

‘Complete Propaganda’: Media And Biden Campaign Blasted Over Coverage Of Trump’s ‘Bloodbath’ Prediction
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a Buckeye Values PAC Rally in Vandalia, Ohio, on March 16, 2024.
(Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Legacy media outlets and the Biden-Harris campaign are facing blowback for picking up on former President Donald Trump predicting a “bloodbath” if he does not win a second term in 2024 while concealing that he was talking about the auto industry.

Contextless headlines arose from Trump’s speech in Ohio on Saturday, less than a week after he surpassed the requisite threshold of delegates — 1,215 — to secure the GOP presidential nomination, paving the way to a 2020 rematch against President Joe Biden in the general election.

“China now is building a couple of massive plants where they’re going to build the cars in Mexico and think, they think, that they’re going to sell those cars into the United States with no tax at the border,” Trump said.

“Let me tell you something to China, if you’re listening President Xi, and you and I are friends, but he understands the way I deal,” he continued. “Those big monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now and you think you’re going to get that, you’re going to not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the cars to us?”

Trump added, “No. We’re going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going 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. That will be the least of it.” Trump then continued talking about cars and factories.

The media coverage that ensued suggested that Trump was making a far more foreboding and potentially violent prediction for the country if he were to be defeated in November.

“Trump says there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses the election,” NBC News’ headline blared. “In Ohio campaign rally, Trump says there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses November election,” said another from CBS News. A third from Rolling Stone trumpeted, “Trump Says There Will Be a ‘Bloodbath’ and Elections Will End if He Isn’t Reelected.”

The list goes on. POLITICO bore a similar headline and noted in its report, “While it was unclear what the former president meant exactly, the remarks came as Trump was complaining about the automobile industry.”

Biden’s campaign released a statement on the “bloodbath” remark without a single mention of cars but repeated mentions of violence.

But not everyone took the lockstep approach. Indeed, Trump’s allies fired back and the coverage, as did those who are not exactly close to the former president.

Leftist activist Matt Stoller responded to the statement from Biden’s team, saying, “This statement is a straight up lie. Trump was talking about what would happen to the domestic auto industry without tariffs on Chinese cars made in Mexico.”

Denver Riggelman, a former congressman who has been critical of Trump and cut ties with the GOP, said on X, “In a speech today Trump refers to a ‘bloodbath’ if he doesn’t [win]. In context, he is referring to a ‘bloodbath’ economically for the auto industry if he’s not elected— I watched the entire portion.”

Indeed, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary notes that a “bloodbath” can mean “a major economic disaster,” which would match what the former president was discussing.

“I will grant It’s extreme—and ridiculous—but there is context. All of you know I’m the first to call out violent rhetoric but I try and make sure to get the whole picture,” Riggelman added.

Make America Great Again Inc., a super PAC supporting Trump, highlighted some pushback in a memo titled “Biden And The Media Team Up To Spread A Desperate Lie.”

Alex Pfeiffer, a spokesman for the group, said, “Joe Biden is allowing China to take over the car industry and Americans are being laid off left and right. It is an economic disaster that only President Donald Trump can turn around.”

Jason Miller, an adviser to Trump, joined with others in taking particular aim at POLITICO’s coverage.

“The future of American journalism is bleak,” he said in a post to X after highlighting the passage in the report that notes Trump was in the middle of talking about the auto industry.

Pfeiffer even asked the author of the report if POLITICO would be issuing a retraction.

Among the others who sounded off on the controversy was billionaire tech entrepreneur and X owner Elon Musk. “Legacy media lies,” he said on X in response to a post about the media coverage of Trump’s remarks.


“Donald Trump said that a bloodbath would happen to the American auto industry if Biden kept on promoting Chinese made EVs. He of course is 100 percent correct. All other reporting about his ‘bloodbath’ comment is complete propaganda. The media should be ashamed,” said Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH).

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said, “The Democrats and the media lie constantly about what Pres Trump says. They twist his phrases and sarcasm and tell the public he said something he did not. When Trump said there will be a bloodbath if Biden wins, he was talking about the auto industry and he’s RIGHT!”

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