FACT CHECK: Donald Trump’s ‘Bloodbath’ Comment Taken Out Of Context

Media outlets are claiming that former President Donald Trump said there would be a “bloodbath” for the country if he was not elected president.

Trump: If I don’t get elected, it’s gonna be a bloodbath. It’s gonna be a bloodbath for the country pic.twitter.com/BWpWORo9Hs

— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) March 16, 2024

Verdict: Misleading

While Trump did make those comments, it appears he was mainly talking about the auto industry and not a literal bloodbath. The Trump campaign has issued other statements stating it was about the auto industry.

Fact Check:

Trump appeared with Bernie Moreno, a Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio, in Dayton, Ohio on March 16, where he criticized President Joe Biden on the southern border, according to Fox News.

Media outlets, such as The New York Times (NYT) and NPR, reported that Trump predicted a “bloodbath” if he was not elected in Nov. 2024. NYT’s headline reads, “Trump Says Some Migrants Are ‘Not People’ and Predicts a ‘Blood Bath’ if He Loses.”

Trump’s remarks appear to be taken out of context. Trump said:

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.

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? 

No, 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. (Emphasis added by Check Your Fact). 

While Trump did say that there would be a “bloodbath for the country” if he is not elected, it was immediately preceded by stating that he would place tariffs on cars from China and Mexico if he is elected in Nov. 2024, making it appear that he’s talking about a bloodbath primarily for the auto industry.

Snopes reported that while the remarks were correctly attributed to Trump, “[t]he context of the remark suggests Trump was predicting an ‘economic bloodbath’ for the country, not a literal one, if he loses the 2024 presidential election.”

The Daily Beast and CNN both reported that Trump’s comments were about the auto industry, though CNN also said that the remarks were about the country as well. (RELATED: Post Claims All Georgia Charges Against Donald Trump Were Dismissed)

The Trump campaign said that the presumptive Republican nominee was talking about an “economic bloodbath.” Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said that “Biden’s policies will create an economic bloodbath for the auto industry and autoworkers,” according to CNN.

“Crooked Joe Biden and his campaign are engaging in deceptively, out-of-context editing that puts Roman Polanski to shame,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told CNN.

Cheung also told the Washington Post that “[i]f you actually watch and listen to the section, he was talking about the auto industry and tariffs” and that “Biden’s policies will create an economic bloodbath for the auto industry and autoworkers.”

Factcheck.org reported Cheung’s “explanation seems the most plausible, given the context of Trump’s comments.”

Trump addressed the claim in a March 18 Truth Social post, saying that he was “simply referring to imports allowed by” President Joe Biden and claimed they 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,” Trump’s post partially reads.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in a March 17 opinion piece that “The press and Democrats jumped on the remarks as if Mr. Trump was inciting violence if he loses.”

“No doubt his words were over the top, as they often are. But his ‘bloodbath’ context was clearly the U.S. car industry, and suggesting more than that plays into Mr. Trump’s hands by giving voters one more reason not to trust media reporting about him,” the editorial board wrote.

Check Your Fact reached out to the Trump campaign for comment. (RELATED: Fact Checking Biden’s Recent Claims About Wage Growth, Inflation)