WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said President Trump’s branding of immigrant gang members as “animals” failed to recognize “that we’re all God’s children.”
Trump made the comment during a Wednesday White House roundtable on California’s sanctuary state status.
“There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told the president.
“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 replied. “And we’re 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.”
At her weekly press conference today, Pelosi declared that “calling people animals is not a good thing.”
“We believe the — some of us who are attracted to the political arena, to government and public service — that we’re all God’s children, there’s a spark of divinity in every person on Earth, and that we all have to recognize that, as we respect the dignity and worth of every person, and as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us,” Pelosi said.
“And so when the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people. These are animals,’ you have to wonder, does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? ‘These are not people. These are animals.’ The president of the United States.”
Pelosi added that “every day that you think you’ve seen it all, along comes another manifestation of why their policies are so inhumane, and why we have to continue to debate, striving for bipartisanship with openness about what is at stake and what the choices are, and to be unifying in every way possible.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement that Trump “revealed the malice with which he regards people unlike himself.”
“By dehumanizing immigrants, he is trying to justify the kind of inhumane treatment to which his administration is subjecting them,” Hoyer said. “Under his watch, immigrant families are living in fear of being torn apart. Crying children are being taken from the arms of their parents at the border and locked away. Young people who were brought here as minors and have grown up as patriotic Americans are under threat of deportation and being cast out from the only country they’ve called home.”
The White House said Trump’s comments were entirely appropriate and “clearly” just referred to MS-13.
“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “Frankly, I don’t think the term the president used is strong enough.”