President Trump at a round table on Thursday doubled down on his claim that illegal immigrants who are part of the violent MS-13 gang are ‘animals’ as he slapped back at Democrats calling his rhetoric insensitive.
‘Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, as an example are trying to defend MS-13 gang members,’ Trump said at the event dedicated to publicizing the horrors committed by the criminal immigrants. ‘I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke, they said they’re people.’
Trump said, ‘They’re not people. These are animals and we have to be very very tough.’
The Trump administration sent a signal Monday that the president has no intention of ending his practice of referring to vicious drug gangsters as ‘animals.’
The White House published a primer titled ‘What you need to know about the violent animals of MS-13,’ both on its website and via an email blast to reporters.
‘The violent animals of MS-13 have committed heinous, violent attacks in communities across America,’ it reads, describing the Mara Savatrutcha narcotics street gang that has roots in El Salvador.
‘Too many innocent Americans have fallen victim to the unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals.’
President Donald Trump drew criticism from congressional Democrats and apocalyptic news headlines last week when he described MS-13 criminals as ‘animals’ during an event at the White House.
President Donald Trump said last week that news reports were intentionally crafted to indicate he had labeled all illegal immigrants ‘animals,’ and doubled down Monday with a White House statement driving home that pejorative
MS-13 is a hyper-violent Salvadoran drug gang whose motto is ‘kill, steal, rape, control’
Thie White House’s website returns a single result to people searching for the word ‘animals,’ and it’s this statement about MS-13
Most of the negative coverage had its genesis in what the White House saw as a misunderstanding of the president’s remarks, which some took to be a reference to all illegal immigrants.
Trump tweeted on Friday that those media reports got it wrong intentionally.
‘Fake News Media had me calling Immigrants, or Illegal Immigrants, “Animals.” Wrong! They were begrudgingly forced to withdraw their stories,’ the president wrote.
‘I referred to MS 13 Gang Members as “Animals,” a big difference – and so true. Fake News got it purposely wrong, as usual!’
What the White House’s official fact sheet says about MS-13 ‘animals’
‘Too many innocent Americans have fallen victim to the unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals. …
‘MS-13 is a transnational gang that has brought violence, fear, and suffering to American communities. MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, commits shocking acts of violence to instill fear, including machete attacks, executions, gang rape, human trafficking, and more.
‘In their motto, the animals of MS-13 make clear their goal is to “kill, rape, control.” The gang has more than 10,000 members in the United States spreading violence and suffering.
‘Recent investigations have revealed MS-13 gang leaders based in El Salvador have been sending representatives into the United States illegally to connect the leaders with local gang members. These foreign-based gang leaders direct local members to become even more violent in an effort to control more territory.
‘President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice.’
When TV outlets broadcast footage Wednesday of Trump making that declaration, some including MSNBC and CNN initially omitted what had come before – a sheriff’s statement specifically about the ultra-violent MS-13 Salvadoran gang.
One news agency, the Associated Press, ultimately corrected its reporting on the episode.
‘AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s “animals” comment about immigrants,’ the news agency said on Twitter, ‘because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members.’
Trump pushed back forcefully on Thursday against Democrats who portrayed his comments in the least favorable light possible.
‘I’m referring – and you know I’m referring – to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in,’ Trump protested at the White House. ‘I was talking about the MS-13.’
‘MS-13, these are animals,’ he insisted, adding that ‘when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals. And guess what? I always will.’
The episode began Wednesday, with Fresno County, California Sheriff Margaret Mims venting about her state’s law barring county and local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
‘Now ICE is the only law enforcement agency that cannot use our databases to find the bad guys,’ she said, referring to criminal illegal immigrants during a roundtable event on California’s ‘sanctuary cities’ laws.
‘There could be an MS-13 member I know about,’ Mims added, complaining that if a case doesn’t ‘reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.’
Trump’s original claim that MS-13 gangsters are ‘animals’ drew howls from Democrats who thought he was applying that label to all illegal immigrants
Trump, who has specifically called MS-13 members ‘animals’ in the past, leapt in.
‘We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in – and we’re stopping a lot of them – but we’re taking people out of the country,’ he said.
‘You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.’
The episode quickly became a political Rorschach test: Trump’s enemies insisted he was dehumanizing everyone living in the U.S. illegally, while his backers pointed to the context of his remarks as proof that he was talking only about the menacing gang.
Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday afternoon that the president was referring only to ‘horrible, horrible, disgusting people’ in MS-13.
Sanders left little doubt about what Trump thought he was communicating.
News outlets rushed to air video of Trump Wednesday complaining about ‘animals’ coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, but omitted the context: Fresno County, California Sheriff Margaret Mims (pictured, center) engaging the presdient specifically about MS-13
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell fired off angry tweets at Trump that claimed he was applying the label ‘animals’ to ‘immigrants’ in general
‘The president was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally, and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws,’ she said.
‘This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs, that operates by the motto of “Rape, control and kill.” If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to.’
She defended the characterization of the gangsters as ‘animals,’ citing specific examples of gruesome rapes and murders and saying that the word ‘doesn’t go far enough.’
‘It took an “animal” to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out,’ an uncharacteristically sharp-tongued Sanders said. ‘It took an “animal” to beat a woman they were sex trafficking, with a bat, 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap, drug and rape a 14-year-old Houston girl.’
MS-13 gang members are pictured being arrested following a pre-dawn raid in Los Angeles County, California as a result of a two-year racketeering investigation
Monday’s email blast from the White House was sent out by Kelly Sadler, a communications aide made famous two weeks ago by insulting Sen. John McCain while he fights brain cancer.
She said during a West Wing staff meeting that the administration should ignore McCain’s threat to vote against the president’s choice to lead the CIA – because ‘he’s dying anyway.’
McCain did not travel to Washington to cast a vote against Gina Haspel during his convalescence. Haspel was sworn in as the CIA’s first female director on Monday.