"It's easy to dismiss what Trump said as nonsense. but there is a long tradition of entire groups of people being likened to animals before [and] during periods of mass violence against them", tweeted author Clint Smith, pointing to the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.
Trump's remark at meeting with local leaders was in response to a complaint about gang members.
Washington, May 18 US President Donald Trump today defended his use of the controversial word "animals" to describe some illegal immigrants, asserting that he will continue to use it for members of the deadly transnational gang MS-13 despite facing flak from the Democratic leaders.
Mexico's foreign ministry sent a formal diplomatic letter to the USA state department complaining that Trump's comments were "absolutely unacceptable". He exhorted his administration to "do much better" in keeping out undesirable people, including members of transnational gangs like MS-13.
"Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress and crises in their lives", she said.
Looking at Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, who sat at the other end of the large wooden conference table, Mr. Trump said: "Perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that". She added that thought "the term animal doesn't go far enough".
Answering a reporter's question during a meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said his comment a day earlier had clearly been directed at members of the MS-13 gang.
President Donald Trump lashed out at journalists who reported that he called immigrants "animals".
They were criticising legislation Govenor Jerry Brown signed into law previous year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or helping federal agents with immigration enforcement.
Brown insists the legislation, which took effect Jan 1, doesn't prevent federal immigration officials from doing their jobs. Local officials reacted with glee, arguing that California makes it more hard for their communities to deport criminals-the state's existing law, said Sheriff Margaret Mims, prevents authorities from being able to use her databases "to find the bad guys", and stops her from accessing prisons to locate people who might be in the country illegally. Brown responded on Twitter, writing that Trump "is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA".
The news media knows this, of course, but it would rather spend its time and resources trying to destroy the president than report what's happening in the world or discuss real issues-like, you know, out-of-control gangs that rape and murder people. "The Democrats gave us that law".