Trump accuses Biden of causing a border ‘bloodbath’ as he escalates his immigration rhetoric

Apr 1, 2024, 9:07 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2024, 7:36 pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of unleashing a “bloodbath” at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday, escalating his inflammatory rhetoric as he campaigned in two Midwestern swing states likely to be critical to the outcome of the 2024 election.

Trump, who has accused migrants of “poisoning the blood of the country” and vowed to launch the largest domestic deportation operation in the nation’s history if he wins a second term, said Biden was allowing a “bloodbath” that was “destroying the country.” In Michigan, he referred to people in the U.S. illegally who are suspected of committing crimes as “animals,” using dehumanizing language that those who study extremism have warned increases the risk of violence.

“Under Crooked Joe Biden, every state is now a border state. Every town is now a border town because Joe Biden has brought the carnage and chaos and killing from all over world and dumped it straight into our backyards,” Trump said in Grand Rapids, where he stood flanked by law enforcement officers in uniform before a line of flags.

While violent crime is down, Trump and other Republicans have attacked Biden by seizing on several high-profile crimes alleged to have been committed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally as border crossings have hit record highs. Polls suggest Trump has an advantage over Biden on the issue as many prospective voters say they’re concerned about the impact of the crossings.

Trump continued to hammer the theme at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Tuesday evening as the state was holding its presidential primaries. Trump accused rogue nations of “pumping migrants across our wide open border” and “sending prisoners, murders, drug dealers, mental patients, terrorists” — though there is no evidence any country is engaged in that kind of coordinated effort.

He also claimed that migrants would cost the country trillions of dollars in public benefits and cause Social Security and Medicare to “buckle and collapse.”

“If you want to help Joe Biden wheel granny off the cliff to fund government benefits for illegals, then vote for Crooked Joe Biden,” he said. “But when I am president, instead of throwing granny overboard, I will send Joe Biden’s illegal aliens back home.”

Biden’s campaign said Trump is the one who threatens the programs. “Donald Trump is trying to hide his unpopular record with erratic lies and desperate denials,” said Brianna Johnson, the campaign’s Wisconsin communications director.

The White House emphasized the positive impact that immigration has on the U.S. economy. They argued that recent gains in immigration have helped to boost employment and sustained growth as the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates to bring down inflation.

“We know immigrants strengthen our country and also strengthen our economy,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Tuesday’s briefing, noting that immigrants were the ones doing the “critical work” on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore when it collapsed after being struck by a ship.

Trump invoked the killing of Ruby Garcia, a Michigan woman who was found dead on the side of a Grand Rapids highway on March 22. Police say she was in a romantic relationship with the suspect, Brandon Ortiz-Vite. He told police he shot her multiple times during an argument before dropping her body on the side of the road and driving off in her red Mazda.

Trump incorrectly referred to the 25-year-old Garcia as a 17-year-old.

Authorities say Ortiz-Vite is a citizen of Mexico and had previously been deported following a drunken driving arrest. He does not have an attorney listed in court records.

Trump in his remarks said that he had spoken to some of her family. Garcia’s sister, Mavi, however, disputed his account, telling Fox17 that they had not. “No, he did not speak with us,” the outlet said she told them in a text message, declining to comment further.

She also pleaded on Facebook last week for reporters to stop politicizing her sister’s story, and on Tuesday asked for privacy, saying she only wanted “justice to be served” and to “be left alone.”

Trump also again mentioned the killing of Laken Riley, a nursing student in Georgia. A Venezuelan man who officials say entered the U.S. illegally has been charged. Riley’s family attended Trump’s rally in Georgia last month and met with him backstage.

Trump referred to the suspect in Riley’s death as an “illegal alien animal.”

“The Democrats say: ‘Please don’t call them animals. They’re humans.’ I said, ‘No, they’re not humans, they’re not humans, they’re animals,’” he said.

FBI statistics show overall violent crime dropped again in the U.S. last year, continuing a downward trend after a pandemic-era spike. In Michigan, violent crime hit a three-year low in 2022, according to the most recent available data. Crime in Michigan’s largest city, Detroit, is also down, with the fewest homicides last year since 1966.

Michigan and Wisconsin are seen as critical battleground states in this year’s election. Trump won both in 2016, toppling the Democrats’ so-called “blue wall,” but lost them to Biden in 2020. His campaign is hoping to win them back with a particular focus on blue-collar workers and union members.

In Green Bay, some supporters braved snowfall for three hours outside to enter the venue. In Grand Rapids, over 100 supporters stood in the cold rain to line the street where Trump’s motorcade was expected to pass.

At a nearby park, a small group advocating for immigration reform gathered to hold a moment of silence for Garcia while holding signs that read “No human being is illegal” and “Michigan welcomes immigrants.”

Biden’s campaign has tried to counter Trump’s attacks by hammering the former president for his role in killing a bipartisan border deal that would have added more than 1,500 new Customs and Border Protection personnel, in addition to other restrictions.

“There was a solution on the table. It was actually the former president that encouraged Republicans to walk away from getting it done,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said Monday. “I don’t have a lot of tolerance for political points when it continues to endanger our economy and, to some extent, our people as we saw play out in Grand Rapids recently.”

Trump has been leaning into inflammatory rhetoric about the surge of migrants at the southern border since he became his party’s presumptive nominee. He has portrayed migrants as “poisoning the blood of the country,” questioned whether some should even be considered people, and claimed, without evidence, that countries have been emptying their prisons and mental asylums into the U.S.

In Green Bay, Trump spoke beside an empty podium that read, “Anytime. Anywhere. Anyplace.” Trump said it was meant for Biden, whose campaign has not committed to participating in debates.

___ Gomez Licon reported from Green Bay, Wis. Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report.

United States News

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

6 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Idaho group says it is exploring a ballot initiative for abortion rights and reproductive care

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new Idaho organization says it will ask voters to restore abortion access and other reproductive health care rights in the state after lawmakers let a second legislative session end without modifying strict abortion bans that have been blamed for a recent exodus of health care providers. “We have not been […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

An Alabama prison warden is arrested on drug charges

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The warden of an Alabama prison was arrested Friday on drug charges, officials with the state prison system confirmed. Chadwick Crabtree, the warden at Limestone Correctional Facility, was charged with the manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South Africa man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women for allegedly lying on his naturalization application for saying he had neither killed nor hurt anyone. Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted earlier this year in the deaths of the two […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old boy has confessed to an unsolved killing in Texas, telling investigators that he shot a man he did not know while the victim slept, authorities said Friday. The boy, who was just shy of his eighth birthday when the man was shot two years ago, has been evaluated at […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Trump accuses Biden of causing a border ‘bloodbath’ as he escalates his immigration rhetoric