White House doubling down on Trump's MS-13 'animals' comment

- After President Donald Trump referred to the violent MS-13 gang as “animals” last week, the White House appears to be doubling down on his comments by putting out a news release Monday titled, “What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals of MS-13.”

"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in – and we're stopping a lot of them," Trump said last Wednesday in response to a question on MS-13 during a roundtable discussion on California’s sanctuary laws. "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals. We are taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that has never happened before. 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 news release, which references MS-13 as “animals” nine times throughout the post, noted two MS-13 gang-related killing cases in Maryland as examples of the shocking violence committed by the gang.

“In Maryland, MS-13’s animals are accused of stabbing a man more than 100 times and then decapitating him, dismembering him, and ripping his heart out of his body. Police believe MS-13 members in Maryland also savagely beat a 15-year-old human trafficking victim. The MS-13 animals used a bat and took turns beating her nearly 30 times in total.

MS-13 has also been an ongoing problem in Virginia as the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force said targeting and stopping the El Salvadorian-based gang is the top priority for the group.

The White House fact sheet said MS-13 uses violence to “instill fear and gain control.”

“MS-13 is a transnational gang that has brought violence, fear, and suffering to American communities. MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, commits shocking acts of violence to instill fear, including machete attacks, executions, gang rape, human trafficking, and more. In their motto, the animals of MS-13 make clear their goal is to ‘kill, rape, control.’ The gang has more than 10,000 members in the United States spreading violence and suffering."

Trump will travel to New York on Wednesday for a speech about immigration and it is expected he will discuss MS-13.

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