At an Iowa rally, Trump stands by contentious remarks on immigrants 'poisoning the nation's blood.'

Donald Trump, the former president, is standing by his statements regarding migrants crossing the southern border, where he previously stated they are 'contaminating America's bloodstream.'

In Waterloo, Iowa, on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump reiterated his stance on migrants crossing the southern border, defending his previous statement that they are 'contaminating America's bloodstream.' Trump strongly denied any resemblance to fascist writings, explicitly mentioning he had not read 'Mein Kampf,' Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, during a campaign rally.

During a speech to over 1,000 supporters, Trump on Tuesday claimed that immigrants in the U.S. without legal status were 'harming the essence of our nation' and 'dismantling the foundation of our country.' This came as a response to growing criticism regarding his recent anti-immigrant remarks focusing on 'blood' purity. Numerous politicians and experts on extremism have drawn parallels between his language and Hitler's writings concerning the 'purity' of Aryan blood, which formed the basis for Nazi Germany's genocide of millions of Jews and other marginalized groups during World War II.

Amid a surge in illegal border crossings, reaching over 10,000 on certain days in December, Trump persisted in criticizing Biden's policies for permitting migrants to 'flood into our nation.' Trump asserted, without substantiating evidence, that these individuals bring crime and potentially carry diseases with them.

In a speech addressing what he termed a 'border catastrophe,' Trump highlighted the origins of migrants, citing Africa, Asia, and South America, yet omitted any reference to the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to disqualify him from the state’s ballot based on the insurrection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Despite this, his campaign sent out a fundraising email on the subject during his address.

Throughout his political career, Trump has employed incendiary rhetoric about immigrants, beginning with his 2015 campaign launch where he labeled Mexican immigrants as 'bringing drugs, crime, and being rapists.'

In his current campaign, Trump has embraced increasingly authoritarian views, expressing intentions to strengthen bans on citizens from select Muslim-majority nations and proposing expanded 'ideological screening' for immigrants to the U.S. He notably stated a willingness to act as a 'dictator' on 'day one' to fortify border control and expand drilling.

Supporters at the Waterloo event stood by Trump's border policies, acknowledging their effectiveness while acknowledging that he may not always articulate his views in the best manner.

Expressing their views on immigration, 63-year-old Marylee Geist commented that while birthplace shouldn't determine opportunity, the entry to the country should follow legal channels. Her husband, John Geist, 68, emphasized the importance of maintaining a controlled level of immigration due to concerns about national security and the regulation of undocumented immigrants.

Others, like Alex Litterer and her father Tom from Charles City, acknowledged concerns about the influx of migrants at the southern border, citing limited resources. However, 22-year-old Alex disagreed with Trump's comments, highlighting the positive contributions of legally arriving immigrants and their diverse perspectives.

Polls reflect that the majority of Americans believe in the strength brought by the nation's diverse population, with two-thirds viewing it as a contributor to national strength.

Despite this, Trump's rhetoric on 'blood' purity might resonate with some voters. Approximately a third of Americans express concerns that increased immigration is diminishing the influence of U.S.-born citizens economically, politically, and culturally, according to a late 2021 poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Jackie Malecek, 50, from Waterloo, appreciates Trump's outspoken nature and 'loose cannon' persona, which she believes sets him apart. However, Malecek found Trump's remark about immigrants 'poisoning the blood' to be excessive.

Expressing concern over the current situation at the border, Malecek stated, 'There's an overwhelming number of people entering daily, a situation I witness regularly.' While she supports legal immigration and aiding refugees, she remains apprehensive about unvetted migrants arriving at the border.

Meanwhile, Senator JD Vance, a Republican from Ohio, defended Trump's 'poisoning the blood' statement when confronted by a reporter. Vance asserted that the reference was to overdoses from fentanyl smuggled across the border. He dismissed the implication that Trump's comment aligned with Adolf Hitler's ideology, labeling it as absurd and highlighting Trump's focus on the drug epidemic affecting Americans.

During a congressional hearing on July 12, James Mandryck, a Customs and Border Protection deputy assistant commissioner, disclosed that 73% of fentanyl seizures at the border since the previous October were carried out by U.S. citizens attempting smuggling, with the remainder by Mexican citizens.

Experts in extremism have drawn parallels between Trump's rhetoric and language used by white supremacist shooters to rationalize mass violence.

Jon Lewis, a research fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, cited instances where shooters, like the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attacker and this year’s Texas mall shooter, used similar language in their writings prior to their attacks. He described Trump's language as reflective of fascism and white supremacy, resembling dehumanizing rhetoric often found in white supremacist online forums.

When questioned about Trump’s 'poisoning the blood' remarks, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell responded with a remark about his wife, who is an immigrant and served in Trump's administration.

McConnell responded, 'Well, it seems that concern didn’t arise when he appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation.'

Trump currently maintains a significant lead over other candidates in polls among likely Republican voters in both Iowa and nationwide. His campaign aims for a commanding performance in the caucuses, seeking to halt his opponents' momentum and secure the nomination swiftly. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has placed considerable emphasis on Iowa, heightening expectations for his performance there.

While expressing confidence, Trump stated, 'I won't guarantee it, but I'm quite certain about it,' regarding his potential victory in Iowa next month.

Contributions from Associated Press reporters Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Lisa Mascaro in Washington.

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