This story was already debunked nearly a year ago, but because one Twitter user last night retweeted an out-of-context clip of President Donald J. Trump and claimed the commander-in-chief referred to asylum seekers as "animals," it needs to be addressed again. The president was specifically referring to illegal alien gang members belonging to MS-13 while addressing law enforcement on the growing problem of sanctuary cities.
Twitter user Mark Elliot, who works at a firm called Economic Mobility Corp. that conducts research "on promising strategies and evaluate programs that have the potential to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives," tweeted a 47 second video of the president with the caption saying, "@RealDonaldTrump on people asking for asylum "These aren't people. These are animals."
But if Mr. Elliot had actually done some research as is his day job, he would have clicked on the CSPAN provided video and understood that the President made these remarks in May 2018 at a "Roundtable on Sanctuary Cities and Immigration Laws."
Per the provided description, the president spoke with law enforcement concerned with the dangers of local communities and police not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. As noted by the summary, President Trump also "said he was proud of his administration’s push to deport criminal immigrants like members of the gang MS-13 living in the U.S. illegally."
Indeed, if Elliot had simply started the video just seconds earlier, his audience would know the president was absolutely referring to MS-13 gang members and not asylum seekers.
Sheriff Margaret Mimms of Fresno County, CA, lamented the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not have access to her database of "bad guys" because of Sanctuary City laws prevent them from doing so, she told the roundtable. At the end of her speaking slot, she remarked, "There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it."
The president responded by saying:
"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. 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. The dumbest laws — as I said before, the dumbest laws on immigration in the world. So we’re going to take care of it, Margaret. We’ll get it done." emphasis added
But, Elliot only showed the bold part. He did not show Sheriff Mimms' remarks nor the president's full quote.
Nonetheless, folks like MSBC's Joy Reid retweeted Elliot's video for her 1.38 million followers, saying, "This is particularly frightening language coming out of a person vested with the power of a presidential office."
Asylum seekers "aren't people." They are "animals." This is particularly frightening language coming out of a person vested with the power of a presidential office. https://t.co/coxdWANTd0— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) April 6, 2019
The New York Times columnist Glenn Thrush also retweeted the video, with his followers responding with comments such as "This is not America. I'm mortified," and "It's horrific. He's horrific." One Twitter user even said, "Dehumanizing so you won’t mind when a poor child dies. This is dangerous, hateful rhetoric." Another echoed these claims saying, "Yet again, genocidal talk from the President of the United States. The nightmare continues."
But, all of these opinions are based on lies. These fellow Americans are needlessly scared that a president of the United States views mothers and children escaping violence as "animals." He does not. He views MS-13 gang members, like the ones who recently stabbed a 16-year-old boy more than 100 times and lit his body on fire, as "animals."
Elliot, the source of this confusion, should stop retweeting the fears he caused from those responding to his fake news. Folks like Joy Reid and Glenn Thrush should know better than retweet something without first verifying its truth, but two years into the presidency and with a media already repeating the same mistakes, it appears many mainstream media journalists are not actually concerned with learning from their errors. In fact to the watchful eye, it seems to confirm most in the media will say whatever to ruin President Trump, truth be damned.