Tripling down on its efforts to prove that President Donald Trump was only referring to members of the MS-13 gang as “animals” — not all undocumented immigrants — the White House released a statement Monday morning explaining the origins and crimes of the “violent animals of MS-13.”
The statement — titled “What you need to know about the violent animals of MS-13”—outlines some of the horrific crimes committed by members of the gang in the suburbs of New York City and Washington, D.C. in the past two years. The statement called MS-13 members “animals” nearly 10 times.
During a panel discussion with California officials who oppose the state’s sanctuary immigration policies last week, Trump appeared to refer to immigrants who have been taken out of the country for attempting to illegally enter the U.S. as “bad ” people and “animals.” Trump later clarified — both to reporters and on Twitter — that he was referring to members of the MS-13 gang. Read a transcript of the conversation in question here.
In the new statement, the White House repeatedly referred to the group as “the MS-13 animals” as it outlined the brutal rapes and murders the group is believed to have committed in recent years, as the gang has risen to national notoriety for its violent attacks in the U.S.
“MS-13 is a transnational gang that has brought violence, fear, and suffering to American communities,” the statement said. “MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, commits shocking acts of violence to instill fear, including machete attacks, executions, gang rape, human trafficking, and more.
“Recent investigations have revealed MS-13 gang leaders based in El Salvador have been sending representatives into the United States illegally to connect the leaders with local gang members,” the White House continued. “These foreign-based gang leaders direct local members to become even more violent in an effort to control more territory.”
While the reported crimes by the gang are horrific in nature, as Vox News explains, the Trump administration — in its vows to “bring these violent animals to justice” — has used the attacks to perpetuate its narrative of linking illegal immigration with violent crime.