2020 Democrats Seemingly Defend MS-13 Against Tough Rhetoric in Bid To Attack Trump


It’s impossible to say whether the men and women vying for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination simply don’t fact-check or are prone to believe whatever their biases tell them is true.

Maybe they have short memories. Or, perhaps they sense an opportunity when one presents itself. Perhaps all of those.

Whatever the case, it ended with three potential frontrunners seeming to defend MS-13.

You may perhaps remember, in May of last year, that President Trump referred to members of the gang — which started in Los Angeles but gets most of its membership from Central American immigrants — as “animals” during a roundtable discussion on immigration law at the White House.

“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,” Trump said after remarks by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims regarding the gang.

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“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.”

At the time, some media denuded the comments of the MS-13 context and some Democrats did, too. Nancy Pelosi wondered, “When the president of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals’ — you have to wonder, does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person?”

That wasn’t her finest moment, though it didn’t particularly stick and was roughly 1,138 news cycles before the November midterms. The quote got dredged up again Friday, however, by a Twitter user named Mark Elliott.

Elliott’s context was even more misleading. He didn’t identify when the quote was being spoken and he conflated it with asylum-seekers, essentially inferring the quote was germane to the current border crisis:

Then as now, prominent Democrats lined up to express their outrage.

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That’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat presidential contender with actual credentials, as well as Pete Buttigieg — the 37-year-old mayor of the 301st-largest city in America who has inexplicably caught the eye of Democrat voters, despite minimal experience in either government or the private sector — discussing the quote in the new context.

In addition, Sen. Cory Booker seemed to reference it, though he piggybacked off of a tweet that’s been deleted. Business Insider listed the tweet as yet another that misconstrued Trump’s remarks as referring to the asylum crisis.

There are two possibilities here. First, three presidential candidates didn’t remember this quote, which wasn’t exactly a quiet story. Two, they just don’t care.

Do you think that these candidates were defending MS-13?

At best, this is yet another symptom of the left’s rush to be first and most forceful to emote about the president’s awfulness. Even if you’re a candidate and don’t operate under the belief that Trump should have called gang members animals (frankly, once someone joins a criminal organization that is happy to murder people, absent a serious change of heart and/or rehabilitation, I think that appellation applies to them), this is almost a year old and has a grand total of nothing to do with the asylum crisis.

All these three candidates have done is made it look like they’re either defending MS-13 against the tough rhetoric of the president, or they’ve got serious issues with fact-checking. I’m going to bet it’s the latter, but the fact they’ve opened themselves up to the possibility of the former isn’t exactly a good augury for their campaigns.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture