2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke tried using the president’s word against him during Tuesday’s CNN town hall to seemingly elevate himself in the polls — but he left out the context of President Donald Trump’s words.
The former Texas congressman — who currently finds himself in sixth place in the RealClearPolitics polling average — used the false claim that Trump called asylum-seekers and immigrants “animals,” which O’Rourke had claimed before.
When asked about plans to “restore global trust in American leadership,” O’Rourke responded by tearing into Trump:
“Describing those immigrants who come into this country as rapists and criminals — though they commit crimes at a far lower rate than those who were born in this country — describing asylum-seekers as animals or an infestation. An infestation is how you might describe a termite or a cockroach — something you want to stamp out, something less than human.”
Watch part of his comments below:
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke lies during a CNN town hall, falsely claims that President Donald Trump called "asylum seekers" "animals" and an "infestation"
Trump called criminal MS-13 gang members those terms
MS-13's motto is "kill, rape, control" pic.twitter.com/AMyixM66tM
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 22, 2019
However, when Trump used the term “animals,” he was referring to MS-13 gang members who are trying to cross into the U.S.
MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.
TRUMP: 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. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.
After previously being met with “rebuke” over his original statement, the president doubled down about the MS-13 gang members.
“They said, ‘they’re people,” Trump said. “They’re not people. They’re animals. We have to be very, very tough.”