President Trump portrayed a very dark picture of America during a speech on Friday that returned to one of his favorite themes from the campaign: Immigrants are bringing drugs, crime, and violence to the US and must be stopped.
Amid a recent uptick in gang violence in suburban Long Island, Trump portrayed the fight as an all-out war between US officials and the MS-13 gang. He called gang members “animals” and repeatedly said police are “liberating” multiple towns and cities across the United States. He suggested cops and immigration enforcement agents should act more violently toward the people they arrest.
Trump’s language was meant to add “power and poignancy” to a request to Congress for more funding for his signature border wall and additional resources to curb unauthorized immigration, his aides told reporters. The result was a bleak picture of American immigration — and a suggestion that law enforcement should use whatever means necessary to get violence under control.
Here are seven key passages from the speech (emphasis added).
1) He called MS-13 gang members “animals” several times
“MS-13 is particularly violent. They don't like shooting people because it's too quick. It's too fast. I was reading one of these animals was caught and explaining they like to knife them and cut them and let them die slowly because that way it's more painful. And they enjoy watching that much more.”
2) He blamed gang violence on children who came to the US seeking asylum
“In the three years before I took office, more than 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors arrived at the border and were released all throughout our country into United States communities. At a tremendous monetary cost to local taxpayers and also a great cost to life and safety. Nearly 4,000 from this wave were released into Suffolk County. Congratulations. Including seven who are now indicted for murder.”
3) He blamed “weak policing” and restrictions on police power for gang violence
“They're there right now because of weak political leadership, weak leadership, weak policing, and in many cases because the police weren't allowed to do their job. I've met police that are great police that aren't allowed to do their job because they have a pathetic mayor or a mayor who doesn't know what's going on.”
4) He claimed laws were unfair to police and “made to protect the criminal”
“The laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they've been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal. Not the officers. You do something wrong, you're in more jeopardy than they are. These laws are stacked against you. We're changing those laws. But in the meantime, we need judges for the simplest thing, things that you should be able to do without a judge, but we have to have those judges quickly.”
5) He described American parks as “bloodstained killing fields”
“Think of it. They butchered those little girls. They kidnap. They extort. They rape and they rob. They prey on children. They shouldn't be here. They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes. And they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”
6) He claimed towns need to be “liberated” from gang violence
“One by one, we're liberating our American towns. Can you believe that I'm saying that? I'm talking about liberating our towns. Like you'd see in a movie. They're liberating the town. Like in the old Wild West, right?”
7) He urged police not to be “too nice” to “thugs” being arrested
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don't be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over. Like, don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”