President Donald Trump spoke Friday about how MS-13 created “blood-stained killing fields” out of public parks in Long Island and told police officers they will now “liberate” towns as if they were in an old Western film.
The Trump administration has focused its sights on MS-13 — a gang whose leadership resides in the prisons of El Salvador and has around 10,000 members in the U.S. who are recruited from the Central American immigrant community.
In his introduction of Trump, New York Rep. Peter King said that defeating MS-13 is an “obsession” of the president’s. “MS 13 is going to be destroyed and we aren’t going to be worried about political correctness,” King said.
MS-13 violence has plagued Long Island. In Suffolk County alone, MS-13 members killed 17 people in the course of 18 months.
“They kidnap. They extort. They rape. They rob, They pray on children. They should not be here,” Trump said. “They stomp on victims. They slash them with machetes. They stab them with knives. They have transforms peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighbors into bloodstained killing fields. They’re animals.”
He said these Long Island police officers “will liberate their towns.” “I never thought I’d be standing here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island,” Trump added. “It’s like a movie.”
Trump’s speech, which sounded at times like a political rally, centered much around the idea of unconditional support for law enforcement. He said that unlike “the old days,” the federal government has “your backs.”
The president claimed that MS-13 grew “in many cases because police weren’t allowed to do their job.” Trump remarked that police shouldn’t “too nice” when they put criminals in the back of paddy wagons, a comment which received applause from law enforcement present.
He said that the “laws have been made to protect criminals,” and that they are “stacked against police.” The president said that the administration is working to change these laws.
It’s unclear which laws he is referring to and what exactly these changes would be.