President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of defending violent gang members, his latest attack on his political opponents who he says champion weak immigration laws that endanger the country.
“The Democrats are sticking up for MS-13. You heard (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi the other day, like, trying to find all sorts of reasons why they should be able to stay. These are stone cold killers – vicious killers,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade in an interview that aired Thursday.
At a news conference last week, Pelosi did not express support for the gang, but criticized the President’s use of the term “animals.” At the time, Pelosi appeared to be referencing media reports that Trump was referring to all undocumented immigrants, though he was speaking about gang members.
“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,” Pelosi said.
The White House and federal agencies have doubled down on the use of the term.
Asked in his Fox News interview if he backs his use of the term “animals,” Trump said “everybody knows what’s going on.”
“These are vicious killers and they shouldn’t be allowed into the country,” he added.
The President made similar remarks about the top House Democrat at an event on Tuesday, saying that “Pelosi came out in favor of MS-13. … She wants them to be treated with respect.” And on Wednesday, speaking at a roundtable on immigration, he said Democrats, including Pelosi, are “trying to defend MS-13 gang members.”
CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this report.