Opinion: It’s not what Trump says; it’s what his supporters hear

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John M. Crisp / Tribune Content Agency

Photo/Jeff Dean/The Associated Press / Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump salutes at a campaign rally on March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio.

By the time you read this, there’s a good chance that we’ll have already stopped talking about former President Donald Trump’s notorious “blood bath” comment of March 16.

Most provocative Trumpian tropes have a short half-life. They’re quickly eclipsed by subsequent remarks, such as Trump’s musings about cutting Social Security and Medicare and his recent assertion that Jews who vote Democratic hate Israel and hate Judaism.

Still, the “blood bath” remark is worth a column’s consideration: Here’s the expression in question:

“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.”

Trump apologists quickly pointed out that the context of his remark involved the automobile industry and argued that the reference was metaphorical.


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