WISCONSIN – Former US president Donald Trump again cast President Joe Biden’s immigration record in violent and ominous terms on April 3, accusing Mr Biden of creating a “border bloodbath” and once more using dehumanising language to describe some migrants entering the country illegally.

In a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump, flanked by law enforcement officers, reiterated his baseless claim that other countries were sending “prisoners, murderers, drug dealers, mental patients and terrorists, the worst they have” to the United States.

Immigration officials have said that most of the people crossing the border are members of vulnerable families escaping poverty and violence.

Trump also used his speech, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, to defend his use of dehumanising language to refer to immigrants accused of crimes.

After referring to the man who the authorities say killed a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia in February, Trump said: “Democrats said, ‘Please don’t call them animals.’ I said, ‘No, they’re not humans; they’re animals.’”

Trump drew attention in March when, while discussing the US auto industry, he predicted a “bloodbath for the country” should he lose in November’s presidential election.

After critics accused him of stoking violence, Trump and his allies pointed back to Mr Biden, insisting he was responsible for a “bloodbath” because of his immigration policies.

The former president has repeatedly criticised Mr Biden, accusing him of maintaining lax border security that he blames for violent crime, though available data does not support the idea that migrants are contributing to increases in crime.

Trump’s campaign appears to be trying to turn “bloodbath” into a catchphrase, essentially trolling his critics and shifting the focus to Mr Biden.

On April 2, the Republican National Committee, which the Trump campaign now effectively controls, introduced a website, BidenBloodbath.com, that mirrors Trump’s argument that Mr Biden is responsible for an “invasion” at the United States’ border with Mexico.

Democrats have pushed back against that framing.

Ahead of Trump’s visit to Michigan, the Democratic National Committee put up billboards near Grand Rapids referring to a bipartisan border Bill that fell apart in the Senate after Trump pressed Republicans to block it. The billboards claim that “Donald Trump broke the border” and that the former president wanted only “chaos, not solutions”. NYTIMES

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