Fun how this works, yes? If there’s a way to mischaracterize Trump, you can bet CNN and MSNBC will have wall to wall coverage, but when it comes to legitimate policy and outreach?

Neither network aired the roundtable discussion live.

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon, Trump went to Long Island for a public roundtable discussion with various experts, law enforcement, and elected officials.

The entire discussion, at least the public portion, is here:

CBS summarized:

“I called them ‘animals’ the other day and was met by rebuke,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday, flanked by members of his administration, local officials and families of victims of the gang. “They’re not people. They’re animals.”

Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said Mr. Trump was “kind” with his “animals” comment: “Animals kill for survival, MS-13 kills for sport,” he said.

Mr. Trump, in the context of the discussion about violent MS-13 gangs, floated the idea of withholding a “rather large amount of money” from countries where violent illegal immigrants hail from, “if we give them aid at all.”

“They don’t want the people that we’re getting in that country,” Mr. Trump said. “So we’re going to work out something where every time someone comes from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid — if we give them aid at all, which we may not just give them aid at all, because despite the reports I hear, I don’t believe they’re helping us one bit.”

The president said members of the gang are “exploiting” loopholes in the immigration system. Some gang members, the president said, entered the country as unaccompanied minors, a statement Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reiterated.

“They look so innocent. They’re not innocent,” Mr. Trump said.

The president, who grew up in Queens, just miles from where he was speaking Wednesday, said it’s “unthinkable” what is happening on Long Island.

“It’s unthinkable that it’s almost like an occupied territory, where your children are afraid to go out,” the president said.

Prior to the roundtable discussion the White House released a fact sheet detailing MS-13:

Trump was widely criticized for calling MS-13 gang members “animals,” comments he refused to walk back. Media outlets mischaracterized his remarks, suggesting he was referring to all immigrants. When it became abundantly clear Trump was referring to murderers, many a Democrat and media member doubled down, defending MS-13.


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