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WATCH: Sarah Sanders Suggests Anyone Who Took Issue With Donald Trump’s ‘Animals’ Comments are ‘Defending’ MS-13′

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump, MS-13, trump immigration, trump animals comment

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at today's White House press briefing. (Screenshot via Twitter)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump amid reports that he’d referred to immigrants as “animals” and suggested that anyone who took issue with the president’s comments is defending MS-13, an international criminal gang with many members who are Central American in origin.

“If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to,” White House press secretary Sanders told reporters. “Frankly, I don’t think the term the president used is strong enough.”

“MS-13 has done heinous acts,” she continued. 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 about 28 times, indenting part of her body; and it took an animal to kidnap, drug, and rape a 14-year-old Houston girl. Frankly, I think that the term ‘animal’ doesn’t go far enough and I think that the president should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible, disgusting people.”

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Some of the president’s most fervent supporters soon joined Sanders in lambasting the media.

David Clarke, a former law enforcement official who was once temporarily blocked by Twitter for appearing to encourage violence against the media, took umbrage with a New York Times report titled “Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’ in Rant.”

“’Unauthorized’ immigrants the NY Times calls them? They are ILLEGAL ALIENS and they are trespassers generally,” Clarke wrote. “The MS-13 that @realDonaldTrump was specifically referring to ARE ANIMALS. Only the Lying Lib Media is sympathetic to this violent vicious gang.”

Diamond and Silk, a pair of conservative vloggers, slammed “the left wing media” for not knowing “the difference between MS-13 Gang members and law abiding citizens.”

The two women alleged that members of the media are “trying to score brownie points by showing love to thugs.”

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, also weighed in.

“The media: These MS-13 gang members are definitely not animals. Their motto of “Kill, Rape, Control” is misunderstood and we should love and accept them,” he wrote. “Not the hill I’d die in guys, but you do you.”

MSNBC host Chris Hayes soon waded into the mix, observing that this “MS-13 nonsense has precisely the same structure as the racist drug war rhetoric of the crack years.”

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders is attempting to portray criticisms of the president’s statement as a defense of MS-13, which isn’t just dishonest, it’s gross AF,” wrote Olivia Nuzzi, a Washington correspondent for New York.

The uproar over the president’s rhetoric on immigration began after analogized illegal immigrants whom he claimed are part of gangs to animals during a meeting with California officials who oppose the state’s position on sanctuary cities.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them. And we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals,” he said. “And we’re taking them out of the country at a level, at a rate, that’s never happened before.”

California’s immigration laws, Trump added, are “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world.”

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