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… https://t.co/PPNPTd0yfY— Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie (@Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie) 1526510838.0
I think this is the kind of language MLK was referring when he coined the term “the thing-ification of the negro,”… https://t.co/QwhEK2MDew— Charles M. Blow (@Charles M. Blow) 1526506029.0
Trump referring to human beings as "animals" is the same dehumanization tactic used by slave traders and slave owne… https://t.co/MIqCsRzOtJ— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1526505289.0
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 langua… https://t.co/kl4QA76nA9— James Martin, SJ (@James Martin, SJ) 1526506708.0
This is called dehumanization. When people start being seen as rats/roaches/animals very bad things can happen. Tha… https://t.co/Ig6QcDaI6v— Ryan Lizza (@Ryan Lizza) 1526511684.0
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."