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Trump refers to immigrants as 'animals,' again

  • Published at 06:25 pm May 17th, 2018
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Pro-migrant caravan demonstrators climb the US-Mexico border fence during a rally on April 29, 2018, in San Ysidro, California AFP

His most recent comment - loaded with echoes of Nazi language about Jews

US President Donald Trump described some migrants as "animals" on Wednesday, in a charged discussion about the border wall and law enforcement.

"We have people coming in to the country, or trying to come in," Trump told California Republicans visiting the White House, "we are taking people out of the country." 

"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."

Trump's remarks came after comments on migration and law enforcement, so-called "sanctuary cities" for immigrants, and the MS-13 gang. Trump has often painted members of MS13 - a gang that originated in the United States but with roots in El Salvador - as "vicious" and "killers."

He has often conflated the gang with immigrants in general.

Calling people "animals" is not new for Trump. Criminals from other countries are "animals," Trump said last year in Ohio.  A terror suspect from Uzbekistan was an "animal," too, Trump said, as was a Mexican worker acquitted of a death in California.

Trump is not the first to use such rhetoric - Adolf Hitler justified the Holocaust by saying Jews were not people but rats. In the Rwandan genocide, Tutsis were called not people, but cockroaches, and slave-owners justified slavery by calling their slaves not people, but animals.

His most recent comment - loaded with echoes of Nazi language about Jews - was swiftly condemned by Democrats.

"Immigrants are human beings. Not animals, not criminals, not drug dealers, not rapists. They are human beings," said Colorado Congressman Jared Polis.

California Governor Jerry Brown said "Trump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of California." 

"Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed," he said.