Trump on 'animals' comment: 'I'm referring to the MS-13 gangs'


The White House said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says Federal Bureau of Investigation may have placed spy in Trump campaign Giuliani: There is "nothing illegal about looking for dirt on political opponents" Giuliani: If Mueller subpoenas us, we will challenge it MORE was "clearly" referring to members of the MS-13 gang when he called some immigrants "animals" and argued the controversial label is more than appropriate.

The president insisted he was referring to MS-13 gang members as animals, and not all immigrants, and attacked his critics in the media.

At Thursday's White House press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was ready with a prepared statement defending President Trump's comments that immigrants "aren't people, these are animals". "And guess what? I always will".

Shortly after Trump's comments spread, Brown took to Twitter to accuse the president of "lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA".

The local officials invited for the event took turns praising his immigration policies and lamenting California's law, arguing that it was making it more hard for their communities to find and deport criminals. He has also used the term to describe terrorists and school shooters.

In a 2017 letter to U.S. Attorney General and former Department of Homeland Security John Kelly, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye expressed concern over reports that ICE agents are "stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests" and asked immigration officials to keep enforcement tactics out of state courts.

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Trump said on Thursday he was referring to violent gang members when he made his remark, and that he'd continue using similar rhetoric when describing such individuals. She added that thought "the term animal doesn't go far enough". This one, though, might be less about the President Donald Trump's words or deeds and more about our collective assumption that when in doubt, he has done or said something wrong.

They were criticising legislation Govenor Jerry Brown signed into law a year ago that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or helping federal agents with immigration enforcement.

Trump was joined at the Wednesday White House meeting by mayors, sheriffs and other local leaders from California who oppose the state's immigration policies and who applauded his administration's hard-line efforts.

Trump responded directly to what Mims had just said.

Mrs. Sanders pointed out to Mr. Portnoy that MS-13 "operates by the motto of rape, control and kill". Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing.

"We're willing to see what this looks like", said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., a leader of the lawmakers trying to force the House to address the issue.