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What Is the Context of Trump’s Warning of Potential Bloodbath in the Event of Election Loss?

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
21st March 2024
What Is the Context of Trump’s Warning of Potential Bloodbath in the Event of Election Loss?
During Donald Trump's speech in Vandalia, Ohio (Getty)

Over the last two days, both Arab and international media have been sharing a statement attributed to the former U.S. President and presidential candidate Donald Trump, in which he allegedly issued a warning of a "bloodbath" if he were to lose the upcoming elections. During their coverage of the statement, some Arabic media outlets went so far as to quote Trump as saying, "Expect a bloodbath if I don't win the presidential elections in November." Conversely, American media outlets used phrases like "violent bloodshed" when reporting on the statement. In response, President Joe Biden's election campaign condemned the remarks, considering them as a threat of political violence.

Indeed, the former U.S. president used this term during a speech he delivered on Saturday, March 16, as part of his election campaign in Vandalia, Ohio. In this speech, he portrayed a pessimistic picture of the country if his opponent, Joe Biden, were to win a second term. However, it's important to note that this statement was made within a highly specific context during a segment of his speech discussing the imposition of tariffs to protect the car industry if he were to be elected. It was not intended as a blanket threat, as some news coverage may suggest.

Donald Trump warns of ‘bloodbath’ if he loses presidential election

The Debate About Car Customs Tariffs

In a video released by the presidential campaign of Donald Trump on C-SPAN, titled "The 100% tariff will be the least of it?", the channel provided a caption above the footage stating that, "the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) created a new incentive to build cars and trucks in Mexico. It requires 75% of a vehicle's parts to be made in one of the three countries in order to remain free from tariffs when moving between the three signatory countries."

During his remarks addressing what he perceived as threats to the American auto industry, particularly from China via Mexico, former President Trump used the term "bloodbath" twice. These remarks can be found in the full 95-minute video, with the first mention occurring around the 1:40-minute mark. His statement reads as follows:

“Mexico has taken over a period of 30 years 34% of the automobile manufacturing business in our country. China now is building a couple of massive plants where they’re going to build the cars in Mexico and they think that they’re going to sell those cars into the United States with no tax at the border. 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, 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. Now, we’re going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and 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 whole… That’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars. They’re building massive factories.”

The Economic Implications of the Term “Bloodbath”

With Trump's statement gaining traction and sparking questions from American voters and global observers about its intent, coupled with the Biden campaign’s condemnation for its usage, Misbar searched in reputable English dictionaries to ascertain the meaning of the term "bloodbath."

Several English dictionaries interpret the term "bloodbath" in ways that deviate from its literal meaning. For example, the Merriam-Webster dictionary explains it with three meanings: a great slaughter, a notably fierce, violent, or destructive contest, and "a major economic disaster." Similarly, Dictionary.com offers two meanings: massacre and "a period of disastrous loss or reversal."


The term "bloodbath" has been used in various economic contexts prior to Trump's recent statement. In late November 2023, Business Insider quoted economic advisor Nouriel Roubini, who stated that "the market 'bloodbath is likely to continue' with investors set to lose tens of trillions over the next decade." Similarly, in October 2022, The Economist published a report titled "Who will survive the fintech bloodbath?" analyzing the reasons and implications of the crisis faced by the tech sector at that time.

the market 'bloodbath is likely to continue' with investors set to lose tens of trillions over the next decade
Who will survive the fintech bloodbath?

It's worth noting that, after three days of questions about the meaning of the term "bloodbath" following the speech, Trump posted yesterday, Monday, on his Truth Social platform, saying, "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. 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.”

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