Fact Check: Trump Used The Word 'Bloodbath' In Car Import Tariff Segment of Speech

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Trump Used The Word 'Bloodbath' In Car Import Tariff Segment of Speech He Said It

Did Donald Trump say in a speech that there would be a "bloodbath" if he weren't elected in November 2024? Yes, that's true, here's more context: The former American president used the term on March 16, 2024, while campaigning in Vandalia, Ohio, in a speech that painted a dire picture of the country if Joe Biden were to win a second term. Trump was in the Buckeye State supporting Senate candidate Bernie Moreno when he used the word during a segment of his speech where he was talking about imposing tariffs to protect the auto industry if he got elected.

A video (archived here) published on C-SPAN by the Trump Presidential Campaign on March 16, 2024, under the title "The 100% tariff will be the least of it?" carried a caption saying:

The USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement] 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.

This is what the post looked like on C-SPAN at the time of writing:


(Source: C-SPAN screenshot taken on Mon Mar 18 15:18:59 2024 UTC)

The word

Trump used the word "bloodbath" during comments on what he said were threats to the U.S. auto industry, especially from China via way of Mexico. The Republican presidential candidate said it twice, starting about 1:40 into the clip:

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.

The context

Here's how the candidate's words appeared in the context of that section of the speech (original quote emphasized below):

Mexico has taken, over a period of 30 years, 34 percent of the automobile manufacturing business in our country. Think of it; went to Mexico.

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 [Jinping], 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.

The entire 95-minute speech (archived here) is available on the C-SPAN website.

Dictionary definition

Merriam-Webster defines a bloodbath as:


(Source: Merriam-Webster screenshot taken on Mon Mar 18 21:29:28 2024 UTC)

Truth Social

After three days of questions surrounding the intent of his "bloodbath" comments following the speech, Trump published (archived here) a post on March 18, 2024, to his social media platform, Truth Social, restating his position. He said:

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

This is what the post looked like on Truth Social at the time of writing:


(Source: Truth Social screenshot taken on Mon Mar 18 21:06:46 2024 UTC)

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Trump can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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