Trump sparks all-around backlash for ‘animals’ comment — here’s the full context of what he said

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump’s remark referring to some unauthorized immigrants as “animals” Wednesday drew backlash.
  • Trump was referencing unauthorized immigrants associated with the MS-13 gang, but many critics still felt his comments were dehumanizing.
  • Trump also claimed the US has the “dumbest” immigration laws in the world.

President Donald Trump drew backlash Wednesday after referring to some unauthorized immigrants as “animals” during a conversation with California lawmakers and officials.

Trump was referencing unauthorized immigrants associated with the MS-13 gang. But some critics felt his comment was broadly dehumanizing of immigrants.

During the meeting, a California sheriff complained to Trump about legal hurdles in detaining unauthorized immigrants and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, specifically referencing MS-13.

“ICE is the only law enforcement agency that cannot use our databases to find the bad guys,” Sheriff Margaret Mims said. “They cannot come in and talk to people in our jail, unless they reach a certain threshold. They can’t do all kinds of things that other law enforcement agencies can do. And it’s really put us in a very bad position.”

“There could be an MS-13 member I know about – if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it,” Mims added.

Trump replied: “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in – and 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. These are animals.”

The president further claimed the US is removing such individuals out of the country “at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Trump also said the US has the “dumbest” immigration laws in the world.

The backlash to Trump’s remarks on social media was swift

Here’s a sampling:

But some conservative commentators, among others, felt the president’s comments were broadly taken out of context and portrayed as if he referred to all unauthorized immigrants as ‘animals’

Some also recognized the context of Trump’s remarks but criticized his rhetoric nonetheless

Trump has referred to undocumented immigrants associated with gangs as “animals” in the past, and his stance on immigration continues to divide Americans.