Trump rants about sharks and death by electrocution after his teleprompter goes out in Las Vegas

Trump mused about how he would prefer to die in meandering remarks about electric vehicles

Published June 10, 2024 10:59AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump's teleprompter apparently broke down at a Las Vegas rally on Sunday, giving the former president free rein to meander into a debate over whether it would be worse to electrocuted or bit by a shark, a rant apparently meant as an indictment of electric vehicles.

“I say, what would happen if the boat sank from its weight, and you have this tremendously powerful battery, and the battery is now underwater and there’s a shark that’s approximately 10 yards over there,” Trump said. After referencing shark attacks that injured three people in Alabama, including two teenagers, he concluded that he personally would "take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark."

Although the shark attacks added new flavor, Trump's story about the supposed dangers of battery-powered boats is recycled from a speech in Iowa last year. Both there and in Las Vegas, Trump used the prospect of sinking in an electric boat to attack President Joe Biden.

"He wants to have all electric cars, everything has to be electric, and by 2030 ... that's in six years from now, and you know what, electric cars are fine, they have a problem, they don't go far, they cost a lot to buy, and they're made in China, other than that I think they're wonderful, right?" he said, contradicting U.S. carmakers who say that government support is precisely what they need to remain in a competitive global market (under the Biden administration, electric cars with major Chinese components are ineligible for tax credits).

It also turns out that people have been on boats that use electricity for a very long time. In the 21st century, nearly all boats that are not powered by oar have some electric component to them, whether to operate the main engine, lights system, radio, or motor, and the makers of those boats have considered Trump's grisly scenario and used safety standards before he ever raised the subject.

Electric-powered boats do not pose a unique threat of electrocution, but if they did, Trump is betting that electrocution might be a quicker way out than death by shark bite. Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress at the center of his hush money conviction, once recalled his fear and hatred of the seaborne predators. “Terrified of sharks," she said. "He was like, ‘I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.’”

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