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Donald Trump repeats 'bloodbath' comment as he criticizes Joe Biden border policy

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WASHINGTON - Former President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Tuesday and, in two battleground states, again employed the violent imagery of a "bloodbath," this time to link crime and illegal border crossings.

"There's never been a border like this," Trump said while criticizing President Joe Biden during a prepared speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Standing behind a podium sign that read "Stop Biden's Border Bloodbath," Trump noted that he was criticized for using the term during a rally last month in Ohio. In that case, he used it to allege the American auto industry would suffer under U.S. trade practices.

Trump also repeated his "bloodbath" comments during an early evening rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, another key Midwest state that could well decide the 2024 presidential election.

In attacking Biden's handling of the southern border, Trump included a tribute to Michigan resident Ruby Garcia, who was shot and killed last month. The accused killer was in the U.S. illegally.

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"We're going to deliver justice for Ruby," Trump said in his speech, surrounded by local law enforcement officers who have endorsed his candidacy.

Trump has also talked about Georgia nursing student Laken Riley on the campaign trail. She was killed earlier this year, and the man arrested in her death was also in the country illegally.

Democrats, including Biden campaign aides, have accused Trump of trying to make political capital on a personal tragedy. They also noted that Trump acted personally to block bipartisan border legislation in Congress.

"Donald Trump already tried to overturn one election and promised a 'bloodbath' if he loses this November. Now Trump is doubling down, embracing political violence and making it clear to anyone watching that he is a threat to our democracy and our Constitution," Ammar Moussa, the Biden campaign's rapid response director, alleged in a statement.

Some Democrats have claimed that Trump's rhetoric has previously led to violence, including the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, and threats against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump has not been formally charged in either attack.

Trump's rhetoric has taken center stage on the campaign trail in recent months. He described his political opponents as "vermin" last year, and historians quickly warned that rodent-like terms were used by fascist leaders Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

The March 16 event in Dayton, Ohio, where he used the term "bloodbath" in reference to the auto industry, was also Trump's last traditional campaign event in public. He has been busy behind the scenes raising campaign and legal funds and preparing for a criminal trial in New York City.

In both appearances, Trump sprinkled his speech with references to his sweeping indictments and lawsuits, including an upcoming criminal trial on hush money payments. Jury selection is scheduled to start on April 15. The presumptive Republican nominee also protested his posting of a $175 million bond as he appeals a bank fraud judgment issued against him.

In his Wisconsin speech, Trump also attacked Biden for recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility on Sunday, which was also Easter. As a result, Trump said, Election Day on Nov. 5 would be marked as "Christian Visibility Day, when Christians turn out at numbers that nobody has ever seen before."

One issue Trump avoided in both Michigan and Wisconsin: Abortion.

The former president's trip to the Midwest came a day after the Florida Supreme Court cleared the way for a referendum on abortion rights this fall. That ballot item that could draw more Democrats to the polls in a state that is essential to Trump's hopes for victory.

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