Donald Trump on Tuesday once again used the word “rape” to describe the economic turmoil he believes bad trade deals are inflicting on the U.S.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country – just a continuing rape of our country,” Trump told a crowd of supporters in Ohio.
Hours earlier, Trump announced in an economic policy speech that as president he would pull the U.S. out of the TPP, a massive free trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries.
He did not describe the deal as “rape” in his prepared remarks, which he read off teleprompters in a more subdued tone.
Teleprompters cast aside as he emerged before a crowd of several thousand supporters in Ohio, Trump used the word rape three times to describe the TPP, despite conceding that it is “a harsh word.”
“That’s what it is, too. It’s a harsh word. It’s a rape of our country,” the billionaire real estate mogul said. “This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to sign another partnership.”
Trump previously used the word early last month while stumping in Indiana just days before the state handed him a decisive victory that helped him clinch the Republican nomination.
“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” Trump said as he lamented the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China.
Trump’s repeated use of the word “rape” to describe economic turmoil – and not sexual assault – comes as the billionaire has hinted at softening his rhetoric and positions on some of his most controversial proposals.
Trump has begun to focus on banning individuals from still undefined terror states, instead of banning all foreign Muslims as he proposed in December. And the billionaire rejected characterizing his call to deport all estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. as a “mass deportation.”
But asked Saturday during a gaggle with reporters whether he had been following the Stanford rape case – which has reignited a national conversation around sexual assault on college campuses and criminal justice – Trump said he had not been.