Trump's 'blood bath' threat wasn't even the most dangerous thing he said all weekend

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

You might have heard some controversy over former President Donald Trump’s use of “blood bath” this weekend.

Here’s a quick summary: At an Ohio rally on Saturday, Trump was talking about the auto industry and said if he doesn’t get elected in November “it’s going to be a blood bath for the country,” prompting a number of news outlets to report things along the lines of “Trump predicts ‘blood bath’ if not elected,” which seemed pretty on point, but then a bunch of MAGA types got bent out of shape and said, “No, he was talking about it being a blood bath for the auto industry,” which still seems kind of bad and unnecessarily apocalyptic but … you know … whatever, and so a bunch of news outlets started writing about the possibility that the “blood bath” comment was taken out of context and all sorts of hand-wringing ensued and it was, to borrow a phrase, a bit of a blood bath.

Here’s the full quote, which came on the heels of his comments about the auto industry: “Now if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a blood bath for the whole – that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a blood bath for the country.”

Here’s what matters: A number of media outlets and President Joe Biden’s campaign pounced on one unhinged Trump comment that had questionable context when there were SO MANY OTHER absolutely despicable comments to choose from.

Trump's 'blood bath' line overshadowed more dangerous comments

If the media erred, it was in focusing on the “blood bath” comment rather than – (please imagine me waving my hands in all directions) – everything else.

Of greater importance, I’d argue, was the fact that Trump’s Saturday rally in Dayton began with an announcer saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated Jan. 6 hostages.”

I guess insurrection is now A-OK: Supreme Court sides with Donald Trump, affirming each president gets one free insurrection

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee has taken to calling the charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned insurrectionist-lunkheads who attacked the U.S. Capitol in 2021 “hostages.” He referred to them as “unbelievable patriots.”

The fact that a former president of the United States is treating domestic terrorists as heroes – they are so horribly and unfairly treated! – is certainly as newsworthy as any “blood bath” comment.

Trump calling migrants 'animals' should alarm everyone

Trump also continued his dehumanizing anti-immigrant rhetoric, painting a wildly inaccurate picture of “hardened criminals” by the “hundred of thousands” crossing the border and “destroying our country.”

“I don’t know if you call them people, in some cases they’re not people, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But I’m not allowed to say that because the radical left say it’s a terrible thing to say.”

Former President Donald Trump campaigns at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024, in Ohio. The state holds its Republican Senate primary on the following Tuesday.
Former President Donald Trump campaigns at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024, in Ohio. The state holds its Republican Senate primary on the following Tuesday.

That’s correct. It’s a terrible thing to say. The vast majority of migrants are people fleeing violence or economic hardship, and there’s no evidence that immigrants cause an increase in crime.

On Saturday, Trump called them “animals.” That is vile rhetoric, though not at all surprising since he has previously echoed Adolf Hitler’s language by claiming immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

When you sound like Hitler, that's a very bad thing

Asked about similarities between his words and Hitler’s on Fox News on Sunday, Trump said: “That’s what they say; I didn’t know that.”

Opinion alerts: Get columns from your favorite columnists + expert analysis on top issues, delivered straight to your device through the USA TODAY app. Don't have the app? Download it for free from your app store.

Sure, buddy. He apparently missed the classes on World War II in high school history. And it seems worth noting that even "accidentally" saying something that sounds like Hitler is neither good nor normal.

Unfazed by his Fox News interviewer, Trump continued to repeat the same horrendous crap: “Our country is being poisoned.”

The presumptive Republican nominee: Want to know how weird Donald Trump is? Just read this transcript.

Predicting a 'blood bath' was the tip of Trump's iceberg

Here are a few other disturbing moments from Trump's weekend:

One weekend of Trump babble should disqualify him

To sum things up, the “blood bath” comment, whatever the context, was bad.

But beyond that, the man a majority of Republicans believe should be the next president spent the weekend: calling the sitting president a “numbskull”; calling former Republican primary candidates “terrible”; continuing to deny the results of a free-and-fair election; calling immigrants “animals” while continuing to embrace Hitlerian rhetoric, even after being reminded it’s Hitlerian rhetoric; swearing; crudely making fun of someone’s weight and another person’s name; and calling the people who quite literally attacked the U.S. Capitol and assaulted more than 100 police officers “unbelievable patriots.”

I’d say the real controversy is the media failed to point out that Trump’s “blood bath” comment, disturbing as it is, might have been the least-bad thing he said all weekend.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump's 'bloodbath' threat overshadowed weekend of dangerous comments