(AFP) – US President Donald Trump described some migrants as “animals” Wednesday, in a charged discussion about the border wall and law enforcement.
“We have people coming in to the country, or trying to come in,” Trump told California Republicans visiting the White House, “we are taking people out of the country.”
“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are, these aren’t people, these are animals and we’re taking them out of the country.”
Trump’s remarks came after comments on migration and law enforcement, so-called “sanctuary cities” for immigrants, and the MS-13 gang.
Trump has often painted members of MS13 — a gang that originated in the United States but with roots in El Salvador — as “vicious” and “killers”.
He has often conflated the gang with immigrants in general. His most recent comment— loaded with echoes of Nazi language about Jews — was swiftly condemned by Democrats.
“Immigrants are human beings. Not animals, not criminals, not drug dealers, not rapists. They are human beings,” said Colorado Congressman Jared Polis.
California Governor Jerry Brown said “Trump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of California.”
“Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed,” he said.