Trump says he'll 'always' refer to MS-13 as 'animals' amid backlash

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty ImagesDonald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his characterization of unauthorised immigrants associated with MS-13, stating he will “always” refer to them as “animals.”
  • “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 told reporters.
  • On Wednesday, Trump ignited criticism after a meeting with California lawmakers and officials in which he described unauthorised immigrants associated with MS-13 as “animals.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his characterization of unauthorised immigrants associated with MS-13, saying he will “always” refer to them as “animals.”

Referencing comments he made regarding unauthorised immigrants during a meeting with California lawmakers and officials on Wednesday, Trump clarified he was speaking about MS-13.

“You know I’m referring to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in. I was talking about the MS-13.” Trump told reporters.

“MS-13 – these are animals, ” Trump added. “We need strong immigration laws. … We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So 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 was widely criticised for his remarks on Wednesday and accused of dehumanising unauthorised immigrants. But some also felt his comments were taken out of context by the media and made to seem as though the president had referred to all unauthorised immigrants as “animals.”

At the time, Trump said, “These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Trump’s incendiary rhetoric and hardline stance on immigration has been among the most controversial aspects of his campaign and presidency, delighting supporters and inflaming opponents.

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