President Trump, speaking on Wednesday to a gathering of officials from California who oppose the state's "sanctuary" law, compared some people who illegally cross the U.S. southern border to "animals."
During a White House roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials and political leaders, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims expressed frustration that a California law signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown forbids informing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of undocumented immigrants in the state's jails, even if police believe they are part of a gang.
"There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don't reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it," Mims said.
Trump's response: "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. These aren't people. These are animals," the president said.
As the remark drew criticism and sparked a debate over which people Trump meant to include within the scope of his remarks, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said people had "rushed to judgment."