Despite being one of the areas in which President Trump has seen the most success, left-leaning news outlets are claiming Trump’s rhetoric on crime gang MS-13 is actually “emboldening” them.
Trump gave an impassioned speech to a rapt crowd of New York’s law enforcement officers on Long Island Friday, to celebrate the progress they’ve made working alongside federal officials to crack down on the gang’s activities.
“[MS-13 has] transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields. They’re animals. We cannot tolerate, as a society, the spilling of innocent, young, wonderful, vibrant people,” Trump said to the audience of law enforcement officials, who mostly cheered in approval. “Together we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we’re going to destroy the vile, criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs.”
However, all that most media outlets could take away from the speech was Trump’s apparently harsh language, asserting it makes MS-13 “stronger.” As part of the criticism, CNN’s Dan Lieberman interviewed two MS-13 members who claimed that “murders from MS-13 don’t only hurt one family, but hurt both.”
“I started growing up in that type of neighborhood. I didn’t really get love from my family. Where I grew up, [MS-13] were there, almost all of them,” one member told Lieberman. “They seemed like really nice people. They were there for me through tough times.”
Vox Media is making the assertion that Trump’s words painted MS-13 members as “subhuman” and will spark increased unity among the gang, reinforcing an “us vs. them” mentality. It characterized the speech as “tough talk before an adoring crowd.”
Slate’s Jamelle Bouie deemed Trump’s entire speech about race, claiming the president’s intention was to “make white people afraid.”
“Trump wasn’t just connecting immigrants with violent crime. He was using an outright racist trope: that of the violent, sadistic, black or brown criminal, preying on innocent (usually white) women,” Bouie wrote.
Phillip Bump of The Washington Post also blasted Trump’s rhetoric, saying the president’s anecdotes about one particularly vicious crime were misleading.
“This anecdote, referring to a murder in Virginia, is Trump’s graphic depiction of Hispanic immigrants in the United States: violent, bloodthirsty animals,” he wrote.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Long Island to tell residents and law enforcement he would see to it that MS-13 members would be prosecuted, jailed and deported if applicable.
President Trump has recently been publishing daily tweets filled with harsh criticism of Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Meanwhile, Sessions explained to Fox News that he was following the advice of Department of Justice (DOJ) ethics officials who said he would be in violation of the law if he went forward in the investigation. The conflict tied back to Sessions’ meeting with a Russian official during the Trump campaign in 2016.
Sessions was previously in El Salvador to coordinate various international law enforcement agencies who are battling the crime syndicates wreaking havoc in Central America and along the U.S. border. These syndicates, which include the dangerous MS-13 gang, traffic people and drugs.
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