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The Latest: Trump will keep calling gang members 'animals'

Thu, May 17, 2018 03:33 EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Trump and his remarks at an immigration roundtable at the White House (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will continue referring to MS-13 gang members as "animals" despite of the backlash to his rhetoric.

Trump says: "When the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals. And guess what? I always will."

Trump had been asked to explain what he'd meant Wednesday when he referred to some people who cross the border illegally as "animals." Democratic leaders have criticized the remarks.

Trump says he was clearly referring "to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in," and says "these are animals coming onto our country."

Trump was speaking during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL'-tehn-burg) at the White House.

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1:50 p.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she doesn't think President Donald Trump went far enough when he described some people who enter the country illegally as "animals."

Sanders was responding to the fury raised by Trump's comments during an immigration roundtable at the White House on Wednesday.

She says the president was "very clearly referring" to members of the violent MS-13 street gang who enter the country illegally in his remarks.

And she says that, "if the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to. Frankly, I don't think the term that the president used was strong enough."

Trump had said in response to a comment from a California sheriff: "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals."

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8:26 a.m.

President Donald Trump is drawing criticism after referring to some people who cross the border illegally as "animals."

Trump's remark at a meeting on Wednesday was in response to a comment about MS-13 gang members.

During the White House roundtable discussion on immigration, Trump said, "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded on Twitter, saying, "When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren't "animals," and these people aren't either."

The focus of the roundtable meeting was a California law that took effect this year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or from helping federal agents with immigration enforcement. Trump and Republicans have railed against that law.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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