MSNBC Blames Trump for Media ‘Confusion’ Over His MS-13 Comments

After the media got caught distorting President Trump’s comments labeling murderous MS-13 gang members “animals” as an attack on all immigrants, on Thursday afternoon, MSNBC only briefly corrected the record before immediately blaming the President for press “confusion” on the topic given his history of saying “incendiary and racist things” in the past.

“President Trump lashing out during an immigration roundtable at the White House and stirring controversy over his harsh rhetoric toward immigrants, branding them ‘animals,’” anchor Andrea Mitchell proclaimed during her 12:00 p.m. ET hour show. Moments later, she begrudgingly offered a clarification: “But the White House now says he was referring to the criminal immigrant gang MS-13, not to all immigrants. Though he didn’t say so. He certainly didn’t make that clear.”

 

 

Turning to political analyst Elise Jordan, Mitchell sneered: “Elise, whether you’re talking about MS-13 or not, or all immigrants, he’s certainly used the animal phrase quite liberally and frequently when talking about illegal immigrants.”

Jordan actually explained that the context of the President’s remarks was clear when looking at the full discussion in the White House meeting, beyond the seconds-long clip that Mitchell played: “I read the transcript and I do actually give him the benefit of doubt on this one because it did seem to be in reference to MS-13, which is a horrible gang that machetes are their primary use of warfare and they’ve preyed on minors.”

However, the former Bush administration official still decided that Trump was at fault for the media mistake: “So that said, the reason that I feel the comments were incendiary is because he’s said so many other things in the past that were really inappropriate and horrible....it’s such a contentious media environment because he has had so much racially charged language that this was, I feel like, blown a little bit out of proportion when it was about MS-13.”

At the top of the 1:00 p.m. ET hour, even after the corrections made by Mitchell and Jordan, anchor Craig Melvin still breathlessly hyped the story: “‘Animals,’ that’s how the President of the United States described some who come across the border illegally....We’ll also be reminding you of some of the other incendiary and racist things that this president has said.”

Minutes later, Melvin admitted that the reporting on the controversy wasn’t accurate:

The Associated Press deleted a tweet a short time ago about the remark because apparently there’s been some confusion over whether the President was talking about all immigrants or whether he was talking about MS-13 gang members specifically.

Correspondent Peter Alexander, awaiting the White House daily press briefing, added: “To be clear, yesterday, when the President was hosting a series of leaders...he was reacting to another individual in the room who brought up the issue of MS-13 gang members.”

But then, like Jordan earlier, the reporter declared: “But broadly, he has spoken unsparingly in terms of his criticism of immigrants who have come into the United States from Mexico in the past....obviously this just sort of underscores the fierce language the President often embraces when speaking about topics like illegal immigration...”

After making it clear once again that President was talking about violent gang members, later in the same hour, Melvin inexplicably grilled Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo about the issue: “But first, the President there in his own words branding some undocumented immigrants as ‘animals.’ Here is an opportunity to denounce it, Congressman. What say you?”

Curbelo reiterated the same facts that Melvin had told viewers only minutes beforehand: “Craig, I wasn’t at that meeting. My understanding is that this discussion was about MS-13 gang members.” Given that Melvin clearly already knew that, why did he waste time asking the question?

Finally, nearing the end of the hour, the host teed up former Congressman and Trump critic David Jolly to predictably blast the President. The liberal Republican ranted:

Yeah, so listen, this is a product of the President’s rhetoric since the day he became a candidate, when it comes to immigration. And this issue with MS-13, look, give the President a concession on that. Perhaps he was calling only gang members animals. And in that case, MS-13 is a really bad group, maybe that’s fair.

The question in most American’s mind though, is this is a president whose policies separates families at the border, separate women from children, pull people out of their homes, deport them. And so the notion, when the President talks about the border, I think the anxiety most people feel is one of a president whose policy is so hardline that it actually looks over part of the goodness of the country. And those questions will always linger with this president.

The liberal media became so obsessed with the false narrative of Trump calling all illegal immigrants animals that MSNBC journalists could not let the story go, even as it was proven to be untrue by multiple sources.

Here are excerpts of the May 17 coverage on Melvin’s show:

1:00 PM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: Plus, “Animals,” that’s how the President of the United States described some who come across the border illegally. His comments coming as a group of rogue Republicans are standing up to party leadership to try and get a bipartisan deal on immigration done once again. We’ll also be reminding you of some of the other incendiary and racist things that this president has said.

(...)

1:10 PM ET

MELVIN: Peter, while I have you, I want to ask you about the President’s use of the word “animal” yesterday during some immigration remarks. It’s drawn some heat. The Associated Press deleted a tweet a short time ago about the remark because apparently there’s been some confusion over whether the President was talking about all immigrants or whether he was talking about MS-13 gang members specifically. What more are we hearing on that from the White House, if anything?

PETER ALEXANDER: We haven’t heard from the White House specifically in reaction to that. I suspect it’ll be brought up in the course of this conversation with Sarah Sanders a short time from now.

To be clear, yesterday, when the President was hosting a series of leaders, specifically from California, on the topic of sanctuary cities, he was reacting to another individual in the room who brought up the issue of MS-13 gang members. The President described immigrants, and appeared to be referring to those gang members, as animals.

But this is the type of language he’s used before in reference to M-13. But broadly, he has spoken unsparingly in terms of his criticism of immigrants who have come into the United States from Mexico in the past. You’ll remember the day this whole thing got started, when the President effectively announced his campaign. He said that many of those people who came from Mexico were rapists. He said, “I’m some of them are also good people.”

But obviously this just sort of underscores the fierce language the President often embraces when speaking about topics like illegal immigration, where he feels like he can really sort of flex his muscles and try to show his toughness.

(...)        

1:15 PM ET

MELVIN: We’re also going to be talking a little bit more about the controversy surrounding the President of the United States, saying that some people who crossed the southern border illegally are not people at all.

(...)

1:28 PM ET

MELVIN: Meanwhile, President Trump facing quite the backlash today after railing against undocumented immigrants at a White House meeting on Wednesday.

DONALD TRUMP: We have people coming in to the country or trying to come in. 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.

MELVIN: His comments were made during a roundtable discussion with California leaders on that state’s so-called sanctuary laws. For more on all of this, Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, Florida, joins me now.

He introduced a petition last week that would force the House to vote on some key immigration measures. It’s gaining support with his GOP colleagues. And Congressman, we’ll talk about that in just a moment.

But first, the President there in his own words branding some undocumented immigrants as “animals.” Here is an opportunity to denounce it, Congressman. What say you?

REP. CARLOS CURBELO [R-FL]: Craig, I wasn’t at that meeting. My understanding is that this discussion was about MS-13 gang members. If that’s the case, perhaps some people, especially those who’ve been victimized by this violent gang, might agree with that characterization. It’s not the way I speak, but if he was referring specifically to gang members, that’s something I could understand.

If he was just speaking about undocumented immigrants, a lot of the well-meaning people who try to come to our country to work and make a better life for themselves – not that we encourage illegal immigration – but in that case, that characterization would really be something that the President should apologize for.

But, again, if it was just about this MS-13 gang, I think there’s probably a lot of people in our country who would agree with that, given all the violence that that group has inflicted and the deaths that they’re responsible for.

MELVIN: Here’s the thing, this is not the first time we’ve heard this president – hang on one second, Congressman. Sarah Sanders is starting to take questions here from reporters during the briefing. Let’s listen in.

(...)

1:41 PM ET

MELVIN: I would say that Sarah Huckabee Sanders there did appear to be prepared for what we were just talking about a few moments ago, President Trump doing a roundtable with leaders in California yesterday, referring to some immigrants as “animals.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders clarifying that the remark itself was meant specifically for MS-13 gang members. Sarah Sanders appearing to read what was clearly a prepared response there to that particular question.

(...)

1:43 PM ET

MELVIN: David jolly, we also heard Sarah Huckabee Sanders there spend some time talking about Mexico doing more at the border as well. What were your takeaways from that, again, 11-minute back and forth with reporters?

DAVID JOLLY: Yeah, so listen, this is a product of the President’s rhetoric since the day he became a candidate, when it comes to immigration. And this issue with MS-13, look, give the President a concession on that. Perhaps he was calling only gang members animals. And in that case, MS-13 is a really bad group, maybe that’s fair.

The question in most American’s mind though, is this is a president whose policies separates families at the border, separate women from children, pull people out of their homes, deport them. And so the notion, when the President talks about the border, I think the anxiety most people feel is one of a president whose policy is so hardline that it actually looks over part of the goodness of the country. And those questions will always linger with this president.

(...)


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