Trump, while addressing auto industry, says there will be 'bloodbath' if he loses 2024 election, ramps up anti-migrant rhetoric

The Biden campaign responded, saying, Trump "wants another January 6."

March 17, 2024, 9:00 AM

What was scheduled to be a guest appearance by former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally for Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno quickly turned into Trump saying there would be a "bloodbath" for the country if he doesn't win the 2024 general election -- while also railing against the electric vehicle industry manufacturing automobiles outside the U.S. and using disparaging language to describe immigrants who are in the country illegally.

"We're gonna put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you're not gonna be able to sell those guys if I get elected," Trump said at Saturday's event while criticizing overseas manufacturing production.

"Now, if I don't get elected, it's gonna be a bloodbath for the whole ... that's gonna be the least of it, it's gonna be a bloodbath for the country, that'll be the least of it."

Trump's campaign has pushed back on claims Trump was talking about violence throughout the country should he lose reelection in 2024, arguing he was talking about the destruction of the auto industry.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump  speaks to supporters during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on March 16, 2024 in Vandalia, Ohio.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

"Joe Biden's Insane EV Mandate will slaughter the American auto industry," senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller posted on X. "So many jobs killed! That's why we have to elect President Trump."

However, President Biden's campaign seized on the comments, highlighting how Trump has often praised authoritarian leaders and starts many of his rallies saluting the American flag while "Justice for All" by the "J6 Prison Choir" plays.

"This is who Donald Trump is," Biden-Harris spokesperson James Singer said in a statement Saturday night.

"He 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."

Later, as Trump was mounting the stakes of the November election, he argued, "I don't think you're going to have another election in this country, if we don't win this election ... certainly not an election that's meaningful."

At the Saturday rally, Trump also claimed some unauthorized immigrants are "not human" while making unfounded claims that other countries were letting criminals out of prisons to cross into the United States.

"I don't know if you call them people, in some cases, they're not people in my opinion," Trump said, referring to prisoners and gang members that he claimed other countries are sending to the United States.

Trump then quickly suggested he knew he would be attacked for his comments, saying, "I'm not allowed to say that because the radical left says that's a terrible thing to say. They say, 'You have to vote against him because did you hear what he said about humanity'? I've seen the humanity and these humanity, these are bad, these are animals."

Throughout this election cycle, Trump has frequently used derogatory language while talking about immigrants who come into the U.S. illegally, repeatedly calling them "animals" and saying they're "poisoning the blood of our country," echoing words of fascist historical figures like Adolf Hitler.

In recent weeks, Trump has dedicated a considerable amount of time on the campaign trail to emphasizing border security and highlighting immigration issues, claiming that immigrants are taking over the jobs of Americans and blaming Biden for the death of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley, who was allegedly killed by a suspect identified as an immigrant who came to America illegally.

ABC News' Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Libby Cathey and Fritz Farrow contributed to this report.