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Campaign Press Release - FACT CHECK: President Trump Called Violent MS-13 Gang Members "Animals"

August 19, 2020

Democrats repeated the claim tonight that the president called immigrants or asylum seekers "animals," but Politifact rated this flat-out "false" and Snopes called it "inaccurate."

  • PolitiFact: "His 'animals' comment came nearly a year ago during a White House discussion on MS-13 gang members. … Trump did refer to some people as 'animals,' but that was during an exchange about MS-13 gang members. His comment wasn't directly about asylum seekers. We rate the tweet False." (04/08/2019)
  • Snopes: "The quotation attributed to President Trump was both inaccurate and left out the full context behind his remarks, which referred to undocumented and deported migrants convicted of crimes. What was not evident from much of the news coverage of the event was that the president made his comments immediately after Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims …. specifically named the violent criminal gang MS-13 immediately before President Trump's 'animals' remarks." (05/21/2018)
  • Washington Examiner: "Trump said no such thing about asylum seekers. He was speaking specifically about members of the brutal, barbaric Salvadoran gang MS-13, which is known for hacking its enemies to death with machetes." (04/08/2019)
  • The Associated Press deleted it's initial tweet on the president's remarks "because it wasn't made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members." (05/17/2018)

A majority of American adults agree with President Trump: MS-13 gang members are animals.

  • The Hill: "Fifty-six percent of American adults in the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll said referring to members of the gang as "animals" is fair, compared to 44 percent who said the characterization was unfair. A slimmer majority, 52 percent, added that comments that 'dehumanize' members of MS-13 are acceptable." (05/24/2018)
  • NBC's Chuck Todd: "A lot of people have called violent anybodys animals. Anybody who is a violent criminal in my book can get called an animal if they're sitting there mauling, killing and raping people. I don't care where they're from." (05/18/18)

Donald J. Trump, Campaign Press Release - FACT CHECK: President Trump Called Violent MS-13 Gang Members "Animals" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345836

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