President Trump gave an impassioned speech in suburban New York about the violent MS-13 street gang in an effort to drum up support for his strict immigration and tough-on-crime policies.
The White House chose Suffolk County, Long Island — a traditionally peaceful county where there have been at least 17 killings attributed to the gang since January 2016 — to deliver his message about the threat of the international gang that was formed by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
Over the decades, MS-13 (also known as Mara Salvatrucha) built a criminal network with footholds in major metropolitan areas across the United States. The gang also has a strong presence in Mexico and strong ties to Central America, as it’s mostly comprised of Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan nationals or first-generation Americans.
In a speech to police officers, Trump repeatedly expressed his almost worshipful respect for law enforcement and vowed to destroy the “vile criminal cartel MS-13.”
He urged the cops, “don’t be too nice” to suspects when they are “thrown into the back of a paddy wagon.” In 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man under arrest for alleged possession of a switchblade knife, died of injuries he sustained being transported by police in the back of a van.
“MS-13 is particularly violent. They don’t like shooting people because it’s too quick. It’s too fast,” Trump said at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, N.Y., roughly 60 miles east of Manhattan. “I was reading, one of these animals was caught and explaining they like to knife them and cut them and let them die slowly because that way it’s more painful and they enjoy watching that much more. These are animals.”
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