Trump defends ‘animals’ remark

Trump defends ‘animals’ remark

President Donald Trump looks at design prototypes for his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border during a March 2018 trip to California.

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump pushed back against controversy surrounding comments he made on Wednesday that some interpreted as him calling undocumented immigrants “animals.”

Speaking to reporters in the cabinet room Thursday, Trump said that he was only referring to members of the violent criminal gang MS-13.

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

During an meeting with California officials on immigrations Wednesday, Trump had an exchange with Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims that began with a reference to MS-13.

“There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it,” Mims said.

“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,” Trump replied. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

The comments were interpreted by some as a broader attack.

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