Of course not, but this has not stopped some in the social media and the mainstream media from twice in a space of a single year disingenuously misquoting the same remarks by Donald Trump. Try to fool me once, shame on you; try to fool me twice, and you clearly have no shame. Yet personalities like Joy Reid and the Democrat presidential wannabes Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand among others keep running with the lie, in Buttigieg’s case with 150 thousand likes. As if it wasn’t bad enough the first time around:
On Wednesday, President Trump hosted a roundtable with local California leaders, decrying the immigration laws in the country, and condemned the international criminal gang, MS-13.
However, that’s not what made the news.
Instead, what spawned was a 47-second [C-SPAN] clip of Trump calling what can only be interpreted as all undocumented immigrants as “animals,” and not “people.”
What was missing from this clip was a comment from Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims in which she specifically lamented about what she should do when trying to report MS-13 gang members who are in the country illegally.
“There could be an MS-13 gang member that I know about. If they don’t meet a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them,” Mims said.
“We have people coming into the country or trying to come in, 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,” Trump responded. “These aren’t people. These are animals.”
President Trump during California #SanctuaryCities Roundtable: "These aren't people. These are animals."
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 16, 2018
That C-SPAN wrote such a misleading take-out tweet was bad enough; that virtually the whole of the mainstream media either did not bother to click on “Full video here” or they did but continued to lie that Trump’s comment referred to “asylum seekers”, “illegal immigrants” or “immigrants” in general was nothing short of reprehensible. The meme’s zombie-like rising from the dead eleven month later is both reprehensible and incomprehensible.
And so now Buttigieg now tweets “You do not refer to human beings as animals. You just don’t.”
He’s right – members of MS-13, Mexican drug cartels, ISIS, SS and many others are not animals – they are worse than animals. Animals don’t intentionally inflict cruelty on other animals; they kill to eat or to protect themselves, not in the pursuit of criminal or ideological and not out of sadism.
There is a theological argument somewhere in there, I guess, that every human being – even Hitler – contains a divine spark inside and so the potential for redemption. It’s true, no doubt some MS-13 rapists and murderers could, with enough time and enough positive influence, understand the evil they were part to, repent and lead new lives. They have been, after all, conditioned by their criminal environment; given a better environment they could potentially change. But blind hope is not good grounds for public policy.
It would indeed be a concern if the President, or anyone else for that matter, referred to entire groups, like Jews or Muslims or immigrants, as “animals”. It would be both incorrect and immoral to do so. But the failure to exercise any ethical judgment by defending MS-13 monsters from being dehumanised is equally insipid and dangerous. Nothing one can say about them can dehumanise them more than their behaviour already does.