Trump vs. MS-13

Trump’s recent comments about gang members stirred controversy.

President Trump drew swift condemnation across much of social media for his recent remarks about Hispanic gang members that illegally enter the United States. During a roundtable discussion on immigration at the White House yesterday, Trump responded to a question about the notoriously violent gang known as MS-13 by saying:

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in – and we’re stopping a lot of them – but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Although some media outlets were criticized for taking the president’s comments out of context, many thought it was still immoral to refer to anyone as “animals” – criminal or not. Some of the strongest online condemnation came from a Jesuit priest named James Martin:

However, others disagreed, claiming that the president was completely entitled to call them animals. They point out that MS-13 is known for carrying out horrific and barbaric acts of violence, and is heavily involved in child trafficking. Why should we not take a hard stance when it comes to getting these people out of the country? They ask. And if that type of behavior doesn’t justify the label of “animal,” what does?

How Should We Treat Others?

The topic sparked intense as people argued over whether the comments were entirely appropriate, perhaps accurate but ill-thought out, or even racist and dehumanizing. Among the usual nasty taunts and petty insults that characterize the fraught landscape of social media, there were some interesting conversations taking place. For example, in one thread of replies to James Martin’s tweet we found a good-faith argument between two people that appear to disagree:

Argument about crime on Twitter.

Jesus did indeed teach us to love others – even the lowest among us. Do those teachings have limits, or do they represent eternal principles that must never be violated?

Let us know where you stand.



  1. Bob says:

    Hate the sin not the sinner.

    1. Thomas says:

      This sort of sentiment gets people killed.

    2. Mike Mangold says:

      That’s right. Stick to it, Bob.

    3. Wesley W Brown says:

      Bob i am with you hate the sin not the person and if someone wants to say anything about gods peace too all

  2. Rev. Rob says:

    well, all i can say is have lets say like in my case 5 of these so called people, walk in to a store kill one’s mother in law and a 17 old boy playing a video game for some beer and cigarettes and lets see how you feel after it destroys your marriage then come back and tell me they are not animals

  3. Plaster Jack Lam says:

    Well of corse!!!animal.give me a I mean pc going crazy!!We need someone like trump not like pussys like Obama the muslin. To put this country stright.all these time out sissys.what kind of world are we in crazy.animal my god!!our God is close to destroying humans again this time fire not water.starting with Hawaii. Animal is a gentle name for these m13 non US citizens.

  4. Thomas says:

    The question is not “is it right”. The question is it accurate. We are talking about MS-13 here not a shoplifter or petty thief. It’s no time to be polite but to move from being defensive and go on the offensive with such people who are behaving worse than animals.

  5. James says:

    What just a minute! This is all coming from some jack leg terds that day we evolved from chimpanzees! Mammal, animal. Yes /no. Now if you chew up your own and whore out your sisters, and torture children for not joining your gang. Label me what ever you think, because if you think calling then animals is unfit. I don’t care what you think. The viscous Gangs, armies, religions, etc that do this kind of crap, don’t gives one tiny poop what you call them. Then here in the midst civilized nation on earth? No no no. What’s worse than animal? Use that name as we sling shot their butts out of this country. Those are not people. They are demons and devils. Punish them according to their laws. Ha, ha, ha but that’s unfair too. Sheepeople…

  6. James says:

    Yes, love them as you love yourself. Do not allow Them in our country! I wouldn’t want me in their country.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      What’s wrong with animals? I’ve never known any who were criminals. I’ve never called anyone one, but think when someone does he’s only referring to someone acting like an animal. However, you’ll never hear an animal call anyone a bad name. I seriously doubt that they ever get a resentment or seek revenge. And I’m sure that dogs and cats are much quicker to forgive than humans. So, what’s wrong with animals or being called one ? Maybe particular kinds animals, such as you dirty rat, but a friend is sometimes called dog, and it was once hip to call a man a cat. Of course, nobody likes being call a jack – ass or a chicken, but simply an animal is not bad, especially since most animals act better than most people.

  7. D R Hodges says:

    Everyone “in the streets” knows that in this context, the word “animal” is code language for brown or non-Caucasian and poor people. No one can tell me any different because I’m in those streets every day. …Awakening each minute…

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I thought all street people were poor, Dog. I was panhandling with hobos when I was twelve years old. I joined A.A. when I was twenty, and have been away from that lifestyle for many years, so I don’t know the current lingo of the streets. But in my day down here in Galveston I can’t recall anyone being called an animal. And I don’t think I was always too stoned to know what was going on. I think street talk changes with every generation of young people.

  8. Lee Conner says:

    refering to criminals as animals, and I mean people who rape and kill is an insult to animals…yet we are all freakin animals…get over it

    1. janice Ellery says:

      Many young minority males refer to each other as “dawg” or “dog” and this is not considered negative. In my day calling someone a dog would be an insult. you have to look at the context of how the word is being used.

  9. Maurice Slaunwhite says:

    God does not say we are animals so that means even a President of the united states has no right to call any one person an animal even though some animals are more intelligent than some people.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      And a lot of animals are more intelligent than Trump.

  10. Jim says:

    You want to call something a human that will kill a human being just for looking at him wrong, Wipe out a family because they got in their way, traffic in Children. They run around in packs like wolfs. I would say they are more animal than human.

  11. Reed A Mathis says:

    Humans are part of the animal kingdom Genus: Homo Species:sapiens
    Humans can be more animal than human. If you don’t believe me work at a place like California’s Corcoran State Prison. Those are
    animals. Actually worse than animals. Animals kill for food.

    1. David Zimmerman says:

      Take a look at the California youth Authority at Chad, D Witt Nelson and Karl Holton

  12. Keoni Ronald May says:

    For those people who have worked in Law Enforcement, the Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Services, it would be hard not to call a criminal an “animal” after you saw their victims. A torn anus on a small child, a viciously raped woman bleeding from every opening, a castrated man with his genitals in his mouth, a 2 baseball bats shoved up a woman, etc… can only bring up a bad adjective for a criminal.

  13. Tom says:

    when interacting with another human being you are either loving or not…if you want to reflect your divine heritage, you will be loving, despite the cost…Tom

    1. janice Ellery says:

      The scriptures clearly have examples of when even God was angered by horrific behavior.What do you suggest we do with individuals who kill or torture others? Sorry Tom I think you are being unrealistic.

      1. Tom says:

        Janice…thank you for writing…i believe we are only a tiny part of God…God has no anger, ever…God is pure love and peace…there is no direct aggressive action to be taken against others…our best is to model the behavior of love, caring and compassion…it will not directly deter the actions you describe; that is strictly the ultimate results of karma…i agree with you, that in a given lifetime it appears unrealistic, but ultimately, through many lifetimes, it is the only way…Peace…Tom

        1. Tom says:

          Joseph…what specific words or ideas in my comment triggered moderation?…please…Tom

        2. Jim says:

          Tom, Nice thoughts but “God has no anger, ever. Tell that to Noah when he pleaded for the world to be saved.

          1. Tom says:

            Jim…respectfully, they are not just thoughts; they are he way everyone should live…and there is nothing to show Noah existed (aside from the scientific impossibility of the ship/animals)…Peace…Tom

        3. Carl Elfstrom says:

          Anger is simply an emotion. Why should we not attribute all human emotions to god since we make him resemble a man in every other way.. If God made us in his image surely that isn’t only referring to the way we look. There’s nothing wrong with anger as long as it’s used wisely and not dwelled upon, just like God uses it.

          1. Tom says:

            Carl….respectfully, speaking of God in terms of humans, emotions or otherwise, is simply an exercise in anthropormorphism…God did not “make” us; we are a part of God…there is no anger in God…there is only love and peace…anger is a function of karma, and we ultimately make the choices that generate karma…Peace…Tom

  14. Michael Spinelli says:

    The word animal can be used to identify action or type of persons actions. I for one beleive there is nothing wrong with the President making that statement. It depicks the actions and life style of these individuals. I for one agree are animalistic. You can give this type of person all the love you want but they will still kill or hurt you. Vicious animals

  15. Frank Villari says:

    After the’ve beat you close to death with a bat, cut off your hands and feet, ripped out your tongue and are making ready to take your head, please look them in the eye (if you still have yours) and tell them you forgive them. Then you will have my respect. I’ll still think you’re an idiot, but you’ll have my respect for being able to forgive the animal about to skin you alive.

  16. John Owens says:

    Wait. Just wait a minute. Everybody knows: It is perfectly fine and acceptable if a Democrat calls another person a troll, Nazi, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, inbreed or illiterate or anything else, WITH NO PROOF AT ALL, but if a non-democrat does it, it just shows how uncouth they are.

  17. Lea Weis says:

    Or just amazes me what people deem important. I don’t think Trump looks at a cute little fur ball as an ugly animal..Its the wild animals like a coyote attack their prey…Enen the President has free speech..

    1. John Owens says:

      I concur with that prognosis, Dr. Weis. Have a good weekend.

  18. Mike Mangold says:

    Technically, we are all animals (Kingdom Animalia). In fact, it does a disservice to other animals to call any group of humans “animals” since that kind of conscious violence is not apparent in the rest of the animal world. What makes us different? That “conscious” thing.

  19. Gary Hynous says:

    Based on the number of comments regarding this situation, it’s made a lot of people’s blood boil. The opposite of good is evil and there is evil in the world. Building a fence isn’t the solution nor are racist remarks. This is a political situation involving people that should be in prison but I don’t think our President’s solution is viable. Why not fence our whole country rather than single out people of Mexico. Color is only skin deep. Under the skin we are all the same. We may never end the prejudice that is rampant is our country as well as in other countries. That’s human nature like it or not. There is no easy solution to this and many other world problems but we must continue to try. Perhaps we should vet all immigrants before they enter the U.S.A. People will continue to come to our country because the standard of living is much higher here. Separating families is not the answer either. Known gang members should be banned from entry into the US and yet they seem to find a way in. We have yet to solve all these and many other problems. Is prayer the answer? Perhaps and yet our country continues to produce its’ share of mass murders.

  20. Wesley W Brown says:


  21. John A Anderson, CD says:

    Technically, humans are animals; however, animals rarely kill their own kind on purpose. Therefore, your President referring to them as animals is insulting, to the ANIMALS.

  22. Jim says:

    in response to Toms Comment on May 18. with God all things are possible. There is no scientific Proof that there is a God. There is Scientific Evidence that the world was covered in water. Again I say the thought of Peace and Love is great but I would argue that is more unrealistic even in many lifetimes than the Ark.

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