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Trump Doubles Down on MS-13 Criticism: ‘I Refer to Them as Animals — and I Always Will’

President Donald Trump was asked Thursday to clarify recent comments he made in which he used the term “animals” during a discussion about illegal immigration.

While discussing possible actions on illegal immigration with a roundtable of California mayors and law enforcement officers on Wednesday, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told the president of the current situation: “There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about [but] if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.”

“We have people coming into the country, or they’re trying to come in. We’re stopping a lot of them. But we’re taking people out of the country,” Trump said in response to the question. “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 at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

As Fox News’ Brian Flood noted, multiple media outlets reported Trump’s comment as if he had referred to a broader group of undocumented immigrants —not just MS-13 members— as “animals.”

CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump on Thursday to “clarify” the comment. Trump, who has made clear that he is no fan of Acosta, called out the CNN reporter for asking a question unrelated to the meeting the media were covering at the time.

“Well, it has nothing to do with this meeting. I’m referring, and you know I’m referring, to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in. I was talking about the MS-13,” Trump said. “Also, if you look further onto the tape you will see that. I’m actually surprised you are asking this question. Most people got it right. But I’m saying the MS-13.”

“We need strong immigration laws. We have the weakest laws in the entire world. We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country I refer to them as animals,” Trump added. “And guess what. I always will.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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