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Trump lashes out at ‘fake news media’ over coverage of ‘bloodbath’ comments

Former president Donald Trump has accused the media of willfully misinterpreting his prediction during a rally appearance over the weekend that his defeat in November’s election would result in a “bloodbath”.

Speaking in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday evening as he stumped for Republican primary candidate Bernie Moreno, Mr Trump used the phrase as he warned of dire economic consequences for an American auto industry under pressure from China without him back in the White House.

“If I don’t get elected it’s going to be a bloodbath for the country,” he declared.

The Republican presidential challenger’s choice of words sparked an immediate outcry, with the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign issuing a statement by way of response in which they warned that their rival “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, his affection for violence, and his thirst for revenge”.

Also commenting on the phrase on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning was former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said: “We just have to win this election because he’s even predicting a bloodbath. What does that mean? He’s going to exact a bloodbath? There’s something wrong here.

“How much more do [the American people] have to see from him to understand that this isn’t what our country is about?”

On Monday morning, Mr Trump hit back, claiming in an angry post on his Truth Social platform that the media had only “pretended to be shocked” by his choice of words.

“The Fake News Media, and their Democrat Partners in the destruction of our Nation, pretended to be shocked at my use of the word BLOODBATH, even though they fully understood that I was simply referring to imports allowed by Crooked Joe Biden, which are killing the automobile industry,” he wrote.

“The United Auto Workers, but not their leadership, fully understand what I mean. With the Electric Car Mandate being pushed by Biden, there soon won’t be any cars made in the USA – UNLESS I’M ELECTED PRESIDENT, IN WHICH CASE AUTO MANUFACTURING WILL THRIVE LIKE NEVER BEFORE!!! MAGA2024.”

Mr Trump suffered a technical fault with his teleprompter during Saturday’s 90-minute speech at the Dayton Air Show, prompting him to joke that he would refuse to pay the company that supplied it before ad libbing his way through a meandering address laced with blunders.

The presidential contender was also questioned about his use of inflammatory language by MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz in an interview that aired on Fox News on Sunday.

Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Ohio on 16 March (AP)
Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Ohio on 16 March (AP)

“Why do you use words like ‘vermin’ and ‘poisoning of the blood?’, Mr Kutz asked.

“The press, as you know, immediately reacts to that by saying, ‘Well, that’s the kind of language that Hitler and Mussolini use’.”

Mr Trump answered: “That’s what they say. I didn’t know that, but that’s what they say.”

He then proceeded to double-down on that rhetoric, continuing: “We can talk about, oh, I want to be politically correct.

“But we have people coming in from prisons and jails, long-term murderers, people with sentences that the rest of their lives they’re going to spend in some jail in some country that many people have never even heard of… They’re all being released into our country.”