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Trump calls migrants 'animals,' intensifying focus on illegal immigration

Published 04/02/2024, 06:09 AM
Updated 04/03/2024, 12:07 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he hosts a campaign rally at the Forum River Center in Rome, Georgia, U.S. March 9, 2024. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer/File Photo

By Nathan Layne, Gram Slattery and Tim Reid

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Reuters) -Donald Trump called immigrants illegally in the United States "animals" and "not human" in a speech in Michigan on Tuesday, resorting to the degrading rhetoric he has employed time and again on the campaign trail.

The Republican presidential candidate, appearing with several law enforcement officers, described in detail several criminal cases involving suspects in the country illegally and warned that violence and chaos would consume America if he did not win the Nov. 5 election.

In a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he struck a similarly foreboding tone, describing the 2024 election as the nation's "final battle."

While speaking of Laken Riley - a 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia allegedly murdered by a Venezuelan immigrant in the country illegally - Trump said some immigrants were sub-human.

"The Democrats say, 'Please don't call them animals. They're humans.' I said, 'No, they're not humans, they're not humans, they're animals,'" said Trump, president from 2017 to 2021.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump described meeting the family of Ruby Garcia, a local 25-year-old murdered last month by a suspect in the country illegally, according to police. Garcia's sister denied the former president spoke with the family, according to local media reports.

In stump speeches, Trump frequently claims that immigrants crossing the border with Mexico illegally have escaped from prisons and asylums in their home countries and are fueling violent crime in the United States.

While available data on criminals' immigration status is sparse, researchers say people living in the U.S. illegally do not commit violent crimes at a higher rate than native-born citizens.

Democratic President Joe Biden, Trump's rival in the November presidential election, accuses Trump of encouraging Republicans in Congress not to pass legislation this year that would have beefed up security at the southern border and introduced measures aimed at reducing illegal immigration.

"Donald Trump is engaging in extreme rhetoric that promotes division, hate and violence in our country," Michael Tyler, Biden campaign communications director, told reporters on Tuesday ahead of Trump's speeches.

Trump titled his Michigan speech "Biden's border bloodbath," and said he met family members of Garcia, who was allegedly murdered last month in her car by Brandon Ortiz-Vite, 25, whom she was dating.

"They said she had just this most contagious laughter, and when she walked into a room, she lit up that room, and I've heard that from so many people. I spoke to some of her family," Trump said.

Mavi Garcia, Ruby Garcia's sister, disputed that account, according to local television stations.

"He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us," Mavi Garcia was quoted as saying by a local NBC affiliate.

Reuters was not able to immediately contact Garcia's family. A Trump campaign representative declined to comment on the record.

The murders of Garcia and Riley have allowed Trump's campaign to play simultaneously to some voters' fears about violent crime and immigration.

Some 38% of Republicans cited immigration as the country's top issue in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released in late February, as did about one in five independents.Trump frequently claims without evidence that migrants have caused a spike in violent crime in U.S. cities. On Tuesday, he repeated an unfounded claim that Latin American nations are intentionally sending their criminals to the United States.


During his evening speech in Wisconsin, Trump pledged he would stop the "plunder, rape, slaughter and destruction of our American suburbs, cities and towns."

He also warned that the coming election could be America's last.

"This country is finished if we don't win this election," he said. "And I heard somebody say ... two or three days ago, said, if we don't win, this may be the last election our country ever has. And there could be truth to it."

Michigan and Wisconsin are two swing states that could determine whether Biden or Trump occupies the White House next year.

In the 2020 election, Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin by less than one percentage point and in Michigan by less than three. Both states are expected to be extremely close again this year.

Although both Trump and Biden have mathematically clinched their presidential nominations, they will be on their party's presidential primary ballots in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

The Biden team will be watching for protest votes by Democrats angry over the president's strong support of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

© Reuters. Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., April 2, 2024.  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

In February's presidential primary in Michigan, a state with a large Muslim population, Biden easily won the primary but more than 100,000 Democrats voted "uncommitted," instead of for Biden, as a protest over his Gaza policy.

A similar option is available in Wisconsin on Tuesday. The protest campaign's goal is to get 20,682 voters to mark their ballots "uninstructed," Wisconsin's version of "uncommitted." The number is significant because it represents Biden's winning margin over Trump in the state in 2020.

Latest comments

You are deranged and unamerican if you vote for this liar, convicted rapist, convicted business fraud and wannabe dictator who loves putin and suck up to foreign dictators.
Once again, Nathan Layne, Gram Slattery and Tim Reid, leftist activists posing as journalists, distort the facts, take quotes out of context, and repeat Democrat lies and propaganda. Listening to the speech in its entirety, Trump was clearly speaking about a specific type of immigrant when he said they were animals: the illegal immigrant criminal. I've read other leftist-activist use the same technique: "While speaking of Laken Riley... Trump said...", etc., as if it is simply coincidental or arbitrary. To be proper and, especially factual, a real journalist would not even write the word "while". He was speaking of Laken Riley's killer when he said it. Alas, leftist-activists have become the Pravda of the West. They know that the only strategy the Dems have to get voters is abortion on demand and orange man bad. And they are all to eager to comply.
Trump called particular countries sh*&^!*es, I'd like to see any of you naysayers go visit those places, and then report back on where he was wrong. Which MS-13 members are you all saying are not animals? Maybe you should offer those gang members a room in your own house.
Exactly. Or what about, how do you describe an illegal who brutally rapes a 14-yr old girl with a mental disability?
That illegal was from one of those $hi!-hole countries Trump was talking about - Haiti.
Meanwhile Joe Biden really did call Black Americans that wouldn’t vote for him “not Black”.
He also called people who don't vote for him "domestic terrorists" and "a threat to our Republic".
I think anyone who deliberately murders someone by bashing their head so badly that they're barely recognizable, deserves to be called an animal. And most Americans who don't have TDS feel like same way.
No, he did not. He was clearly talking about Laken Riley's killer, and people like him that are animals.
You Lie like Trump
And you have a hard time accepting reality like Brandon.
Legacy media still pushing propaganda and twisting truth. They say illegal immigrants don't commit more crime. Their entry into the country is a crime that they willingly commit. Most Americans never intentionally commit crimes. I guess it's a cultural difference probably influenced by religion
coming in seeking asylum is legal. but why listen to me, a law abiding citizen. keep listening to that felon, Trump, all you want.
"They say illegal immigrants don't commit more crime." - immigrants, legal or illegal, don't commit more crime than general popolation, but hey, why let facts get in a way of a good xenophobic rant, eh?
They are literally committing a crime by coming here illegally
Biden beat Trump by 50,000+ votes Tuesday despite the uninstructed votes.
some of you seem to like trumps racism, but did you also know that in 2022, trump media was saved from bankruptcy by putin-connected, russian-american, anton postolnikov, now under criminal investigation for money laundering.. question, do you also like that trump is bought and paid by Americas no. 1 enemy..?
that's what I thought, spread 💩 and don't show any facts.
'mark' they won't let me post links here. there is a story about it in the US edition of the Guardian. now sh(u)t up and look it up, troll...
a story? so no facts. anyone can right a story. you stated provable facts
Biden called some Americans "Neanderthals"...yes, that's OK, he can
I guess inflation does not effect you brad
At your next English class, ask Natasha to teach you the meaning of non sequitur.
Brandy, I'll ask about it in my next Latin class, as it's not an English noun.
Trump is right.
The Dear Leader is always right!
you are a Neanderthal
i like your answer
Reuters writer, please take a basic class 101 - how to write an article.
Reuters writer need to learn how to write a basic article first. What a dumbo!!!!
Try talking with a legal Hispanic immigrant worker, you'll find out that a lot of them agree with Trump.
and which party do you think these big farmers (and small farmers) support?
tre, you have not answered. why are farmers subsidized?
Tre, are we really going to bash the people who literally feed this country? Rural / farmland America also has some of the lowest crime rates in the country. Maybe the party they tend to vote for is an indicator, maybe it's not. Point is, they are hardly the people to point any blame towards. I know the left wants all of America to look like the hell hole that is the inner cities, and obviously thriving communities who happen to vote mostly red is a major threat to them. It's weird too with the large percentage of legal gun owners in those areas of the country, how little gun crimes they commit. Can't imagine why that is.
Just like his ho wife
so not migrants....ILLEGAL migrants
you have completely missed the point m(oron)..
you are a Neanderthal, marx
trump is also frequently calling his political and ideological opponents 'vermin' and 'animals.. echoing hitlers speeches...
actually Hitler was a social democrat, like the vegetables in office. Trump is right
back to school boy.. hitler was a fascist dictator, what trump aspires to be.. the democrats are very much pro-capitalist. look up socialism and you will see that there is very little of it in their policies, in spite of what the newsmax/fox-propaganda try to tell you...
falls into a long line of open racist rhetoric by trump.. in 2017 'trump said that people from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” after experiencing the US... in 2023, trump tells rally immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood of our country'
in 2016, trump 'argued that Judge Gonzalo Curiel — who was overseeing the Trump University lawsuit — should recuse himself from the case because of his Mexican heritage and membership in a Latino lawyers association'
and you fall into a long line of race baiters. get off this site
go back to your rightwing echo-chamber, you emptyheaded tool...
Biden is flying illegals by the masses into Texas and Florida, it’s political move at the expense of every taxpayer and taking away limited resources from the homeless
His retoric has more and more resemblance to Hitlers retoric... how can people not see that??
Reuters gets it wrong again, he was talking about illegal immigrant murderers who have killed tens of thousands of Americans with Fentanyl poisonings and murderers like those who have killed Laken Riley
Trump misquoted again by jackass left.
Walt! Trump lied about speaking to a victim's family. What a surprise. When are the dupes going to wake up to the conman's lack of character?
a pig calling complete strangers animals, says everything about trump
Leftists are out in the streets supporting Hamas and calling Jewish people animals just like they did in 1940s Germany, and the media is here trying to pretend Trump calling the illegals who raped and murdered US citizens is a problem?
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