▶Trump stands by ‘an­i­mals’ de­scrip­tion.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY S. A. MILLER AND STEPHEN DINAN

Pres­i­dent Trump stood by his de­scrip­tion of MS-13 gang mem­bers as “an­i­mals” and scolded re­porters Thurs­day for twist­ing his words to sug­gest he’d ap­plied that term to all il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

Ex­plain­ing com­ments he’d made a day be­fore, Mr. Trump said he was re­spond­ing to a Cal­i­for­nia sher­iff who’s said sanc­tu­ary poli­cies some­times even pro­tected MS-13 gang mem­bers from be­ing de­ported. “These aren’t peo­ple, these are an­i­mals,” Mr. Trump replied.

That drew a cho­rus of ob­jec­tions from con­gres­sional Democrats and im­mi­grant-rights groups who in­sisted the com­ment slan­dered all il­le­gal im­mi­grants — a charge the pres­i­dent fiercely re­futed.

“You know I’m re­fer­ring to the MS-13 gangs that are com­ing in and I was talk­ing about the MS-13. And if you look a lit­tle bit fur­ther on in the tape you’ll see that,” Mr. Trump told a reporter who prod­ded him on the mat­ter Thurs­day. “So I’m ac­tu­ally sur­prised that you’re ask­ing this ques­tion ‘cause most peo­ple got it right.”

He added: “I re­fer to them as an­i­mals

“You know I’m re­fer­ring to the MS-13 gangs that are com­ing in and I was talk­ing about the MS-13. And if you look a lit­tle bit fur­ther on in the tape you’ll see that. So I’m ac­tu­ally sur­prised that you’re ask­ing this ques­tion ‘cause most peo­ple got it right . ... I re­fer to them as an­i­mals and guess what, I al­ways will.”

— Pres­i­dent Trump

and guess what, I al­ways will.”

The com­ments fur­ther in­flamed the al­ready heated de­bate over il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, with im­mi­grant-rights ac­tivists leap­ing to lec­ture the pres­i­dent.

House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi said Mr. Trump was be­tray­ing scrip­ture.

“When the pres­i­dent of the United States says about un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, ‘These aren’t peo­ple, these are an­i­mals,’ you have to won­der — does he not be­lieve in the spark of di­vin­ity?” she said. “Calling peo­ple an­i­mals is not a good thing.”

The Coali­tion for Hu­mane Im­mi­grant Rights, a lead­ing Cal­i­for­nia-based or­ga­ni­za­tion, said Mr. Trump’s “racist” re­mark de­meaned all im­mi­grants.

“Only in the twisted world of Pres­i­dent Trump would any other hu­man be de­scribed as an an­i­mal,” said An­gel­ica Salas, the group’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “One can have a difference of opin­ion about im­mi­gra­tion and im­mi­grants, but Amer­i­cans will not stand that in their name a whole group of peo­ple con­tinue to be de­mo­nized, crim­i­nal­ized, and de­prived of dig­nity and hu­man­ity by the holder of the high­est of­fice in the land.”

The White House said the out­rage was mis­placed — and won­dered why so many of the pres­i­dent’s op­po­nents were mount­ing what ap­peared to be a de­fense of MS-13.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said the word “an­i­mal” was too good for the types of crimes MS-13 mem­bers have been ac­cused of.

“It took an an­i­mal to stab a man a hun­dred times and de­cap­i­tate him and rip his heart out,” she said, re­fer­ring to a re­ported MS-13 at­tack.

She added, “Frankly, I think that the term ‘an­i­mal’ doesn’t go far enough, and I think that the pres­i­dent should con­tinue to use his plat­form and ev­ery­thing he can do un­der the law to stop these types of hor­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble, dis­gust­ing peo­ple.”

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