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Story highlights

Donald Trump said China is getting the better of trade deals

He pledged to reverse that as president

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump on Sunday compared the U.S.’s trade deficit with China, which he regularly laments and vows to tackle as president, to rape.

“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” Trump said during his second rally Sunday in Fort Wayne, Indiana, referring to China’s high number of exports relative to the U.S.

Trump has repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency to make its exports more competitive on the global market and has claimed that China is “killing” the U.S. on trade.

READ: Donald Trump suits and ties are made in China

’We have the cards’

Sunday marks the first time in this campaign that Trump has used the term “rape” to refer to what he views as China’s dominance in trade with the U.S.

“We’re going to turn it around. And we have the cards, don’t forget it. We’re like the piggy bank that’s being robbed. We have the cards. We have a lot of power with China,” Trump said Sunday before referring to China’s relationship with the U.S. as rape.

Trump added that he is not “angry at China,” but with U.S. leaders whom he accused of being “grossly incompetent.”

Trump previously claimed in 2011 that “China is raping this country” as he toured a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire.

READ: Yes, China has won big from U.S. trade

Rape controversy

Trump’s use of the analogy come as Trump is under fire for remarks he made about Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton that critics are calling sexist and for touting the endorsement of boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana.

Trump has claimed that Clinton – a former secretary of state, senator and first lady – is using “the woman card” to get elected and that she would not have a shot at the presidency if she were not a woman.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s main competitor in the Indiana GOP primary, slammed Trump for touting Tyson’s support, whom Trump referred to as a “tough guy.”

“I don’t think rapists are tough guys. I think rapists are weak, they’re bullies and they’re cowards,” Cruz said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

READ: Lindsey Graham: Trump would lead to ‘another 9/11’

CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.