(BETHPAGE, N.Y.) — Describing gang violence inflicted by MS-13 members in chilling and gruesome detail, President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to make “radical” changes to U.S. aid practices by withholding government assistance from countries whose criminals slip into the United States.
“We’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid — if we give them aid at all,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion on MS-13 on New York’s Long Island attended by federal and local officials.
White House officials did not immediately respond to questions about which countries the president was referencing or how far along the plan was.
Trump defended his references to MS-13 gang members as “animals” as he and others recounted a litany of hackings, decapitations, bludgeonings and other gruesome crimes that law enforcement authorities blame on the group.
“I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump said, referencing Democratic criticism. He specifically mentioned House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as saying even gang members are people.
“They’re not people,” Trump said. “These are animals and we have to be very, very tough.”
Pelosi had commented more broadly on Trump’s rhetoric and policies directed at immigrants,…