Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she was "horrified' to see the mainstream media take President Trump's remarks about MS-13 gang members out of context.

During a roundtable at the White House on Wednesday, Trump described the brutal gang as "animals."

"You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before," Trump said.

Media outlets including C-SPAN, the New York Times, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and CNN did not put Trump's words in context or ran with stories claiming he used the term "animals" to describe illegal immigrants more broadly. Some outlets later corrected or clarified their reporting, but others - including The Washington Post - did not.

Lawmakers like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ran with the media's initial narrative and criticized Trump as if he had declared all undocumented immigrants are "animals."

On "Fox & Friends" on Friday, Nielsen said Trump was very clear that he was talking about MS-13, a gang whose motto is rape, control and kill. 


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"The instances of brutality and violence they commit on communities is well-documented," Nielsen said. "So, if anyone wants to quibble about whether or not we should call those people animals, perhaps the quibble should be whether we call them something worse."

She said lawmakers like Pelosi who criticized Trump owe him an apology, because they're misstating facts in a very dangerous way.

"The president's trying to protect Americans. He's making clear he will not stand for this violence in our communities. And here you have elected members of Congress pretending that he is talking about something entirely different. It's dangerous. It's inappropriate. And frankly, it's just unprofessional."


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