President Donald Trump doubled down on calling members of a notorious street gang "animals." Good for him for not backing down and for shining a light on an outrageous phenomenon, especially in Southern California: Latino gangs that target blacks, whether or not they belong to gangs, for death.
Trump, during a roundtable discussion last week with state and local officials from California about so-called sanctuary laws, said: "Deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws ... (offer) safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on earth, like MS-13 gang members, putting innocent men, women and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals."
Margaret Mims, the sheriff of Northern California's Fresno County, talked about the problems caused by the state's so-called sanctuary laws, and that such laws made it harder "to find the bad guys." Mims said, "There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about: If they don't reach a certain threshold (under California's sanctuary laws) I cannot tell ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) about it."
That's when Trump dropped the "A-word."
In response to Sheriff Mims' comments, Trump said: "We have people coming into the country -- or trying to come in; 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. And we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., immediately pounced. The Senate minority leader tweeted: "When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren't 'animals,' and these people aren't either."
But even NBC's Chuck Todd admitted that his media colleagues widely misrepresented the President's remarks, especially the initial media reports that failed to note that Trump was referring to MS-13. "This is where I think that my colleagues do us all harm," Todd said. "You know, cover this legitimately. There is plenty of legitimate stuff to ding him on, if you think he deserves to be dinged on. Just be careful. Don't be sloppy about it." As for the "A-word," Todd said: "A lot of people have called violent anybody animals. Anybody who is a violent criminal, in my book, can get called an animal if they're sitting there mauling, killing and raping people. I don't care where they're from."
Cue the selective outrage. Where was this concern for civility when Hillary "deplorables" Clinton said the NRA reminded her of the "Iranians" and the "communists"? Recall, too, Clinton's own "animals"-type description of some black criminals. In 1996, Clinton said: "We need to take these people on. They are often connected to big drug cartels. They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators."
Calling the MS-13 gang members "animals" is positively mild compared with what the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center said about other vicious Latino gangs. In 2007, the SPLC published a report called: "Latino Gang Members in Southern California Are Terrorizing and Killing Blacks."
"While the vast majority of hate crimes nationwide are not committed by members of organized groups, Los Angeles County is a different story. Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations, or 'clusters,' of hate crimes, the perpetrators were typically members of Latino street gangs who were purposely targeting blacks. ...
"Mexican Mafia leaders, or shot callers ... have issued a "green light" on all blacks. A sort of gang-life fatwah, this amounts to a standing authorization for Latino gang members to prove their mettle by terrorizing or even murdering any blacks sighted in a neighborhood claimed by a gang loyal to the Mexican Mafia. ...
"Anti-black violence conducted by Latino gangs in Los Angeles has been ongoing for more than a decade. A 1995 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) report about Latino gang activity in the Normandale Park neighborhood declared, 'This gang has been involved in an ongoing program to eradicate black citizens from the gang neighborhood.' A 1996 LAPD report on gangs in east Los Angeles stated, 'Local gangs will attack any black person that comes into the city.' ...
"The LAPD estimates there are now 22,000 Latino gang members in the city of Los Angeles alone. That's not only more than all the Crips and the Bloods; it's more than all black, Asian, and white gang members combined. Almost all of those Latino gang members in L.A. -- let alone those in other California cities -- are loyal to the Mexican Mafia. Most have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the Mexican Mafia's violent racism during stints in prison, where most gangs are racially based. ...
"'It's almost anywhere in L.A. that you could find yourself in a difficult position (as a black person),' says (a) LAPD probation officer. 'All blacks are on green light no matter where.'"
Trump, in calling brutal gang members "animals," did not go far enough.