The White House really wants you to know that MS-13 gang members are “animals.”
After President Trump used the word to refer to members of the criminal enterprise last week—a statement taken out-of-context by many media outlets falsely equating the president’s insult with all immigrants—the White House pounced on a branding opportunity.
“Too many innocent Americans have fallen victim to the unthinkable violence of MS-13’s animals,” reads a new statement published by the Trump administration on Monday.
Titled “What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals of MS-13,” the 480-word statement describes the subjects as “gang members” nine times and as “animals” 10 times.
“In Maryland, MS-13’s animals are accused of stabbing a man more than 100 times and then decapitating him, dismembering him, and ripping his heart out of his body,” the report reads. “Police believe MS-13 members in Maryland also savagely beat a 15-year-old human trafficking victim. The MS-13 animals used a bat and took turns beating her nearly 30 times in total.”
Publications such as The Washington Post have been quick to note that the animals remark, while not directly aimed toward the immigrant community at large, seeks to link immigration with crime.
“Instead, it’s directly about the threat posed by immigrants to the United States, an argument that took another form in the very first minutes of his presidential campaign, when he called some immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists,” wrote the Post. “The idea has been to use specific examples of bad actors within or associated with the immigrant community as avatars for that community on the whole and to then enact policies that target immigrants broadly.”
Aside from calling Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump regularly recited Al Wilson’s “The Snake” during his campaign rallies.
The song describes an elderly woman’s death after she is bitten by a snake she nursed back to health—Trump’s implication being that all immigrants are venomous animals who will poison the benevolent.
Such rhetoric now flows like a serpent’s poison through official White House statements…