One would think that condemning an extremely violent international gang like MS-13 would be an innocuous thing for an American president to do, but alas, in today’s broken political discourse, Trump’s State of the Union spotlighting of the infamous Salvadoran criminal enterprise was met with screeches of indignation from anti-Trump politicians and media figures alike.
Much of the outrage over Trump’s choice to highlight the tragic murders of teenage friends Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas was centered around criticizing the President for suggesting a linkage between immigrants and MS-13. The following comments from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on MSNBC were representative of this line of argument:
"To equate that with Dreamers and DACA was completely irresponsible. And it was scapegoating and fear-mongering. And it was wrong."@KamalaHarris responds to President Trump invoking MS-13 at #SOTU— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 31, 2018
Watch more: https://t.co/jAgT9haNH3 pic.twitter.com/DacLrkka4c
Of course, Trump did not “equate” MS-13’s violence with “dreamers,” but he did correctly note that several of Kayla and Nisa’s killers were illegal immigrant minors who went to the same high school as the girls, which facilitated their deaths. As the New York Post reported earlier last year:
Ten illegal immigrant members of the notorious MS-13 gang — including one who was previously deported — were indicted Thursday in a wave of Long Island violence that included the slaughter of two teenage girls.
Best friends Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, were beaten with baseball bats and hacked with a machete during an attack that began when gang members spotted them walking together in Brentwood.
Nisa and Kayla were attacked on the evening of Sept. 13, 2016, following several disputes over social media between Kayla and various MS-13 members and associates, court papers say.
That animosity boiled over into a fight at Brentwood High School, leading the gang to “put a ‘greenlight’ on Cuevas; that is they authorized her to be killed,” according to the feds.
Moreover, Trump is not alone in placing blame on the recent influx of illegal alien minors for increases in violent crime in certain communities in the United States. In a piece last summer by the Washington Post, its reporters explained how surges of illegal immigrant children into America have been linked to upticks in violent crime since 2015 as MS-13 members, future gang recruits, and their victims have all come across the southern border in greater numbers.
Unfortunately, many anti-Trumpers simply cannot accept the reality of illegal alien-fueled gang violence. Among those in denial last night was noted Trump critic and prominent Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos, who took a similar tack to Harris in misrepresenting Trump's statements as an attempt to cast all immigrants as violent criminals:
Trump is wrong to criminalize the immigrant community. The vast majority of the 11M undocumented immigrants have NOTHING to do with the gang MS-13. Fact: Immigrants are less likely to be criminals and to end in jail than those born in the U.S.— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) January 31, 2018
Predictably, MSNBC host Joy Reid had a similar perspective:
Trump goes for the "immigrants are savage killers" gambit with a story about a killing by MS-13. Yep, we are well into the Stephen Miller portion of our evening. #SOTU— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 31, 2018
After one Twitter user asked Reid whether or not she was glad that her kid was not killed by MS-13, the MSNBC host and one of her followers demonized cops as potential murderers of her child:
Indeed. Painfully aware.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 31, 2018
Other elite members of our esteemed media class steered away from calling cops baby-killers, instead preferring to portray Trump’s MS-13 comments as part of a devious plot to stir up irrational fear and hatred for electoral and public policy objectives. Prolific liberal commentator Sally Kohn and Boston Globe Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Matt Viser were both fans of this critique:
If you're going to sleep terrified of MS-13 and North Korea, I'm sorry we have a president who irrationally exacerbates and exploits fear for his extremist agenda.— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) January 31, 2018
And if you're going to sleep terrified by that president, do everything you can to elect a different one in 2020.
In the Virginia governor’s race, Republican nominee Ed Gillespie ran hard on fears of MS-13 — and he lost. President Trump is using the biggest possible platform to play on those same fears.— Matt Viser (@mviser) January 31, 2018
This morning, the Washington Post published a piece entitled “Trump is wrong about MS-13. His rhetoric will make it worse,” which summed up a great deal of these various criticisms while also making the case that, as the title suggests, Trump’s comments drawing attention to MS-13 will exacerbate gang violence in the United States:
By misleadingly designating MS-13 as a national priority for the Justice Department and simultaneously stepping up anti-immigration rhetoric and raids of Latino communities, the administration is only encouraging the gang and others like it to flourish here. Massive crackdowns will populate juvenile detention centers and prisons in the United States, and relentless deportations will increase the number of criminals roaming the streets in Central America, just as in the 1980s and 1990s. The combined effects of Trump’s war on immigrants and street gangs will create communities that are even more alienated from law enforcement and more isolated from the institutions that can protect and improve the lives of the people there.
It’s hard to imagine what exact solution the author would suggest as an alternative. Should we not correctly point out that illegal immigrants are joining street gangs and killing people? Should our justice system not imprison or deport these illegal alien criminals? Should we all just sit back and let MS-13 and its compatriots kill more people? Why not offer assistance to El Salvador to combat MS-13 where it holds its strongest turf and try to end the problem for good?
Barring sane and measured answers to these questions from our intellectual elites, the scourge of MS-13 will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, perhaps liberals should try and curb their immediate impulse to call anyone telling politically incorrect truths a racist, inhuman monster?