Animals: Moral panic for gangstersEDITORIAL
May 20. 2018 10:29PM
President Donald Trump says so many stupid and offensive things, it is not necessary to generate outrage over something he didn’t say.
Last week, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told Trump that she did not have enough flexibility to deal with illegal immigrants who are members of the violent gang MS-13.
“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” Trump responded.
C-SPAN released a clip of Trump’s response, without the preceding comment, and many of Trump’s critics pounced, claiming that the President had described all illegal immigrants as “animals.”
This blatant misrepresentation was quickly corrected, so the outrage mob moved the goalposts, arguing that describing anyone, even vicious criminals, as animals was dehumanizing.
Trump’s words do not dehumanize members of MS-13. Their crimes do. The gang revels in gratuitous violence, and is known for public executions, sometimes hacking enemies to death to spread fear and compliance.
Trump’s rhetorical salad of imprecision, hyperbole, and bald-faced lies leaves him open to misunderstanding, and has exhausted any benefit of doubt. But it is sheer lunacy to defend murderers from an unkind metaphor.
Just as hatred of Israel blinds many to the evils of Hamas, Trump Derangement Syndrome has some people lending moral support to MS-13.