Washington: President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his use of the word “animals” to describe dangerous criminals trying to cross into the United States illegally, saying that he had been referring to members of the brutal transnational gang MS-13 when he used language critics called inappropriate.
“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,” Trump said when asked by reporters at the White House.
“We are getting them out by the thousands. But it’s a big, dangerous job. And they’re able, in some cases, to come back in or new groups come in also from the gangs,” he said.
Trump made the controversial remark during a roundtable with law enforcement officials from California.
The president was doubling down on a statement he made on Wednesday at a round-table discussion with state and local officials from California, at which Trump and his guests criticized the state’s so-called sanctuary laws, which restrict communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration officers.
He used the word as one of the officials argued that the state laws made it more difficult for her to share information with immigration authorities about dangerous criminals, including MS-13 members.
“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. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” Trump said during a California Sanctuary State Roundtable at the White House.
“We are taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy,” he said.
Trump blamed the influx of illegal immigrants in the US on the country’s “dumbest laws”.
The White House asserted that Trump’s use of the word “animals” against the MS-13 gang members was “the least that describes them”.