- President Donald Trump reportedly described hypothetical criminals during a meeting by using made-up Hispanic names.
- He was making a point about how his rally crowds loved hearing about how he would deport immigrants who committed crimes, The Washington Post reported.
President Donald Trump reportedly described hypothetical rapists and murderers using made-up Hispanic names during an Oval Office meeting last year, reminding his top advisers that crowds at his campaign rallies loved hearing about how such criminals would be deported under his administration.
Trump made the comments at a meeting the night before Trump’s first speech to Congress in February 2017, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing one person who had been in the meeting and another who was briefed on it later.
The meeting included Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior adviser Stephen Miller. Though some had suggested Trump soften his rhetoric on immigration, Trump reportedly reminded the room that the crowds at his campaign rallies loved to hear tough language about unauthorized immigrants.
Here’s how The Post described his comments:
“Acting as if he was at a rally, he then read aloud a few made up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, like rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country – as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies.”
Kushner and Miller laughed at Trump’s comments, according to The Post.
One senior White House official denied to the newspaper that Trump used Hispanic names to make his point, though the official said Trump did discuss “crowd enthusiasm for crackdowns on criminal aliens.”
Around the same time, Kirstjen Nielsen – who was then the chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly – told at least two of her colleagues that Trump’s rhetoric made running the Department of Homeland Security more difficult, The Post reported.
News of Trump’s 2017 remarks come amid ongoing controversy over his recent description of some unauthorized immigrants as “animals.”
“These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never been happened before,” Trump said last week in California.
Trump’s allies have said he used the descriptor only to refer to members of the street gang MS-13, many of whom are unauthorized immigrants from Central American countries. But Trump’s critics have pushed back, accusing Trump of frequently using MS-13 as a guise to stigmatize all Hispanic immigrants.
Trump has previously made waves for his private descriptions of immigrants – he reportedly grumbled in a June 2017 meeting that the 15,000 Haitians who had entered the US in the preceding months “all have AIDS” and that the 40,000 Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
Trump also reportedly questioned in another meeting why the US should accept immigrants from “shithole countries,” referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.