National Security
George Conway

George T. Conway III

Donald Trump and his allies devoted the bulk of their energy Monday to cleaning up his promise during a weekend rally that if he doesn't win the presidency in November, "it’s going to be a bloodbath for the country."

Trump made the remark—which has attracted a gusher of scrutinywhile stumping for Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno on Saturday in Dayton, Ohio. Trump had been discussing the auto industry, but when he got to the gory “bloodbath” line, he hammered it repeatedly as the notion that the auto industry would flounder if he lost in November receded into the background.

“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," Trump said, adding, "But they're not going to sell those cars."

In other words, it was a classic Trump conflation of themes, obscuring his true intent.

The media, which usually misses the big picture on all things Trump, took his comments both literally and seriously.

One New York Times headline said Trump "Predicts a 'Blood Bath' if He Loses."

Trump allies, no doubt realizing the damage done by the viral comments, began referring to mainstream coverage as the "bloodbath hoax." Trump also took to Truth Social, his social media platform, with a series of posts and reposts claiming he was merely talking about cars and that the "Fake News Media" was taking him out of context.

But the most pertinent context came via George Conway, a noted anti-Trumper and soon-to-be ex-husband of Trump ally Kellyanne Conway. He tweeted out a thread that included this observation: "I’m willing to assume for the sake of argument that he was referring to cars. And it makes no difference to his malicious intent or to the danger he and his rhetoric poses.

"What matters," Conway continued, "is that he consistently uses apocalyptic and violent language in an indiscriminate fashion as a result of his psychopathy and correlative authoritarian tendencies, and because he’s just plain evil."

Trump famously kicked off his presidency in 2017 with an inaugural address decrying "American carnage." And during his 2024 bid, he has already leaned heavily into envisioning the catastrophic aftermath for the country if he loses, promising an economic crash "like you wouldn't believe" and bedlam in the country if his criminal indictments kneecap his electoral chances.

Trump is willing chaos and violence into existence if he loses precisely because he needs that apocalyptic threat to assert that he alone can fix it.

Indeed, later in Trump's weekend rally, he forewarned, “If this election isn’t won, I’m not sure that you’ll ever have another election in this country.”

When Trump says “bloodbath,” it's because he's out for blood, plain and simple. The apocalyptic promise of violence and carnage is essential to his pitch, a self-fulfilling prophecy spoken into action.

As MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Monday, "We are not stupid. Americans aren't stupid. [Trump] was talking about a bloodbath. Sometimes a bloodbath means a bloodbath. And when he finishes by saying, 'That's just going to be the least of it.' Seriously … we're not stupid."

The Biden campaign got the contextualization right, dropping a new ad Monday afternoon reprising Trump's entire body of work.

The spot opened on Trump's weekend remarks, then took viewers through a tour of Trump's greatest end-of-times hits, including his 2017 reference to the Charlottesville neo-Nazi marchers as "very fine people," his 2020 order to the white nationalist Proud Boys to "stand by," and his unabashed glorification of the Jan. 6 rioters.

That's the context, folks. When Trump promises a bloodbath for the country, he means it.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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