Trump discusses MS-13 'animals' on Long Island

President Donald Trump spoke about on immigration and gang violence during a roundtable discussion on Long Island in New York on Wednesday. He hosted the talk at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage. On the agenda was a summary of the efforts to eradicate MS-13, the violent Salvadoran-based street gang.

Last week, Trump used the word "animals" to describe some people who enter the country illegally, in response to a comment about MS-13. The president has said he will continue to use the term in referring to the gang despite pushback from Democrats and other critics.

"I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke," Trump said Wednesday. "They said, 'They're people.' They're not people, these are animals and we have to be very, very tough."

Trump opened Wednesday's event by reading a list of crimes that law enforcement agencies have attributed to MS-13 members, including the killing and hacking of a teenager in Nassau County.

"It's a menace, a ruthless gang that has violated our borders and transformed once peaceful neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields," Trump said.

Several elected officials, including Republican Rep. Peter King and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, members of the community, and other federal and local officials attended.

The White House released a fact sheet Monday morning, titled, "WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIOLENT ANIMALS OF MS-13."

Trump traveled to Suffolk County Community College last July to discuss the gang with law enforcement officials. Trump will also attend a fundraiser at the New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan before returning to the White House late Wednesday.

With the Associated Press