US President Donald Trump on Friday defended his use of the word "animals" against some illegal immigrants, asserting that he would continue to use the term to refer to violent gang members.
Trump said he used the word yesterday against the MS-13 gang members and asserted that he would not shy away from using the term time and again.
"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 said when asked by reporters at the White House.
"We are getting them out by the thousands. But it's a big, dangerous job. And they're able, in some cases, to come back in or new groups come in also from the gangs," he said.
Trump made the controversial remark during a roundtable with law enforcement officials from California.
"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in - and we're stopping a lot of them - but we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals," Trump said during a California Sanctuary State Roundtable at the White House.
"We are taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It's crazy," he said.
Trump blamed the influx of illegal immigrants in the US on the country's "dumbest laws".
The White House asserted that Trump's use of the word "animals" against the MS-13 gang members was "the least that describes them".
"The President was very clearly referring to MS-13 gang members who enter the country illegally and whose deportations are hamstrung by our laws. This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operate by the motto of rape, control, and kill. If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
"Frankly, I don't think the term that the President used was strong enough. MS-13 has done heinous acts," she said.
"It took an animal to stab a man a hundred times and decapitate him and rip his heart out. It took an animal to beat a woman -- they were sex trafficking -- with a bat 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap, drug, and rape a 14-year-old Houston girl. Frankly, I think that the term "animal" doesn't go far enough," Sanders said.
"I think that the President should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible, disgusting people," the presidential spokesperson said.