US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 17, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

WASHINGTON- US President Donald Trump has tried to clarify his comments on Thursday after he called migrants “animals”. He said he was referring to criminal gangs when he called some illegal immigrants “animals,” a term the Mexican government labelled as unacceptable and which drew rebukes on social media.

Trump made the remarks on Wednesday during a meeting with California municipal leaders who support his goal of making the US border impossible for illegal immigration.

Trump said, “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, and 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,”

Mexico said they have filed a diplomatic note of complaint to the US State Department over the remarks, saying that the comments were not respectful of human rights.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray  said to a local TV station Televisa on Thursday, “President Trump referred to some immigrants, perhaps he had criminal gangs in mind, I don’t know, as animals, not as persons,”

“In the opinion of the Mexican government, this is absolutely unacceptable.”

Trump said his context had been taken out of context, “I’m referring and you know I’m referring to the MS-13 gangs that are coming in. I was talking about the MS-13. And if you look a little bit further on in the tape, you’ll see that.”

He backed down on his comments, “MS-13 – these are animals. … We need strong immigration laws. … We have laws that are laughed at on immigration. So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as animals and guess what, I always will.”

Photo Credit- AsiaOne

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