Liberals Really Shouldn’t Be Defending MS-13 Just Because Donald Trump Doesn’t Like Them

Edgar Romero/DPA/ZUMAPRESS

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

President Trump went on one of his MS-13 rants yesterday, but according to John Pfaff it turns out that they haven’t really killed very many people:

I dunno guys. Sure, it’s a dog whistle. But MS-13 really is a deadly group that takes considerable pleasure in theatrical cruelty and revenge killings. The entire gang is roughly 10,000-strong in the United States, and it’s a pretty serious threat as these things go.

 A few days ago Trump called them “animals,” and liberals went through a painfully contorted effort to demonstrate that Trump was talking not just about MS-13, but about everyone deported from the country. Trump finally made it clear that he was talking only about MS-13, so then the conversation shifted. It was now bad even to call MS-13 gang members animals. They’re human beings too after all.

And I guess that’s true, in the sense that we’re all equally children of God. But I suspect God is going to have some fairly sharp words for them on Judgment Day. In the meantime, do we really want to expend our energy in defending MS-13 just because Trump doesn’t like them? That’s kind of crazy, isn’t it? And speaking solely for myself, I’m perfectly happy to call them animals. It seems pretty accurate in their case.

This kind of stuff does nothing but waste our own time, make other people think we’re nuts, and give Trump terrific ammunition to use against us. How about if we dial down the political lens on every last thing and just agree that MS-13 is a bunch of very bad folks? They are, you know.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate