Trump floats ‘migrant league of fighters’ in latest dehumanizing rhetoric against migrants

By Kate Sullivan, CNN

CNN  —  Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said he floated the idea of having a “migrant league of fighters” to UFC President Dana White, again employing dehumanizing language to describe people who enter the US illegally.

“I said, ‘Dana, I have an idea: Why don’t you set up a migrant league of fighters and have your regular league of fighters. And then you have the champion of your league — these are the greatest fighters in the world — fight the champion of the migrants. I think the migrants’ guy might win, that’s how tough they are,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said at a gathering of Christian conservatives in Washington.

Trump added, “He didn’t like that idea too much, but actually, it’s not the worst idea I’ve ever had.”

The former president repeated the comments at a campaign rally in Philadelphia later Saturday.

President Joe Biden’s campaign swiftly denounced the comments Saturday afternoon.

“Fitting that convicted felon Donald Trump spent his time at a religious conference threatening to round up Latinos, bragging about ripping away Americans’ freedoms, and promising to be even more extreme if he regains power,” spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said. “Trump’s incoherent, unhinged tirade showed voters in his own words that he is a threat to our freedoms and is too dangerous to be let anywhere near the White House again.”

The former president has repeatedly used dehumanizing and inflammatory rhetoric when referring to immigrants and has made stoking fears about undocumented immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border a central part of reelection campaign. He said at a campaign rally in Ohio in March that he thought some undocumented migrants were “not people,” and weeks later said he thought undocumented migrants who commit violent crimes are “not humans” and instead “animals.”

Trump used language often employed by White supremacists and nativists when he claimed in an interview last year that undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” The Biden campaign drew a link between the comments and Adolf Hitler, who wrote about the “contamination of the blood” or “blood poisoning” in “Mein Kampf.”

The former president regularly claims without evidence that other countries are sending “prisoners, murderers, drug dealers, mental patients and terrorists” to the US. At his campaign rallies, he spotlights violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants as he bashes Biden’s handling of security at the border.

As president, Trump took steps to curb both illegal and legal immigration, targeting visa programs and seeking to restrict refugee resettlements. He also temporarily banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries while in office. During his 2024 campaign, Trump has vowed to carry out the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” to combat what he claims is an “invasion of our country.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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