- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders ripped “media and liberals” on Thursday for continuing to frame recent comments by President Trump as an attack on immigrants instead of violent MS-13 gangs.

CBS’ Steven Portnoy and many of his industry peers found themselves on the receiving end of a rebuke by Mrs. Sanders this week after a question regarding Mr. Trump’s labeling of MS-13 members as “animals.”

“I want to ask you [this question] because so many people around the country are talking about it over the past 24 hours. What did the president mean when he said some immigrants aren’t people, they’re animals,” Mr. Portnoy asked.

The inquiry came in the wake of reporting by The New York Times and other outlets, which left out the context of Mr. Trump’s Wednesday comments on sanctuary cities.

“Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders ‘animals,’” the Times tweeted.

Similarly, Eugene Robinson of Washington Post said Mr. Trump’s comments evoked “an ugly history of dehumanization.”

Mrs. Sanders pointed out to Mr. Portnoy that MS-13 “operates by the motto of rape, control and kill.”

“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13 they’re more than welcome to,” she said, the Daily Caller reported. “Frankly, I don’t think the term that the president used was strong enough. MS-13 has done heinous acts. It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out. It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking with a bat, 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap and rape a 13-year-old Houston girl.”

Some news organizations apologized on Thursday for their initial reporting on the matter.

“AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s ‘animals’ comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members,” The Associated Press tweeted.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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