President Donald Trump referred to illegal alien gang members as “animals” during a roundtable discussion on immigration at the White House today, and the insult inspired a round of outrage on social media.
Here’s what Trump said
Trump was listening to Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims speak about how California’s “sanctuary city” laws have hamstrung her ability to prosecute illegal aliens and especially dangerous gang members.
“It’s really put us in a really bad position, and it’s a disgrace,” Mims told the president.
“We’re suing on that, and we’re working hard and I really think it’ll come together,” he responded.
“There could be an MS-13 gang member,” she continued, “I know about, if they don’t meet a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.”
“We have people coming into the country,” Trump agreed, “trying to come in, 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,” Trump emphasized dramatically, “these are animals.”
“And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before,” he continued. “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.”
“The dumbest laws, as I said before,” he added, “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world. So we’re gonna take care of it.”
Here’s the video of his comments:
Trump’s detractors took the comments to apply to all illegal immigrants, even though the context appeared to be in respect to illegal immigrant gang members.
Progressive Pastor Chuck Currie called his comments “sickening.”
Donald Trump’s on-going efforts to dehumanize different groups of people, including immigrants, is unChristian and sinful. Such rhetoric – calling God’s children ”animals” – is sickening. All good people of faith must denounce this. https://t.co/jWq766kb0O
— Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie (@RevChuckCurrie) May 16, 2018
I think this is the kind of language MLK was referring when he coined the term “the thing-ification of the negro,” only here it’s aimed at immigrants. https://t.co/mxTyNox08D
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 16, 2018
Trump referring to human beings as "animals" is the same dehumanization tactic used by slave traders and slave owners to justify the oppression of black people for hundreds of years. https://t.co/6LY6XJwFH4
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 16, 2018
I was in Berlin earlier this month and visited a lot of Nazi memorials and read/saw videos of many Nazi speeches and statements where they dehumanized Jews, Gays, “degenerates” etc to sway public opinion and justify locking them up & murdering them.
In related news: https://t.co/MbYNRuR3Xb
— Sean Bonner Ⓥ (@seanbonner) May 16, 2018
Others compared it to the dehumanization of other groups that led to genocide:
Calling people animals is sinful. Every human being has infinite dignity. Moreover, this is the same kind of language that led to the extermination of Jews ("vermin") in Germany and of Tutsi ("cockroaches") in Rwanda. This kind of language cannot be normalized. It is a grave sin. https://t.co/5VvURONwvh
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) May 16, 2018
Let’s just say it: this is the way Nazi Germans talked about targeted minorities. https://t.co/Q0xRuFVKm7
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) May 16, 2018
The Nazis said the same thing about my father's family before they were put in camps, many killed. They said this to dehumanize people and make their torture and mistreatment seem acceptable. It is not. All people are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. https://t.co/ZCyA91sB8U
— Jon B. "Globalist" Wolfsthal (@JBWolfsthal) May 16, 2018
This is called dehumanization. When people start being seen as rats/roaches/animals very bad things can happen. That an American President made this comment is abhorrent beyond belief. https://t.co/Cy5ANeXsta
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 16, 2018
Comedian Kathy Griffin said, “How the f*** isn’t this a breaking news story. The President of the United States calling immigrants animals. He’s acting like it’s just the criminals but he really means all immigrants. I am f***ing disgusted.”