BETHPAGE, N.Y. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday he was working on a plan to reduce U.S. aid to countries he says are doing nothing to stop MS-13 gang members from crossing into the United States illegally.
“We’re looking at our whole aid structure. It’s going to be changed very radically,” Trump told a roundtable discussion about the threat posed by the violent MS-13 gang.
Trump has made the fight against MS-13 a major part of his drive to stem the flow of immigrants illegally into the United States.
Last week, he called gang members “animals,” drawing scorn from Democrats. On Wednesday, he defended his description.
“I called them ‘animals’ the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump said. “They said: ‘They are people.’ They’re not people. These are animals,” he said.
Trump did not give detail on his plan to cut funding for countries from which MS-13 gang members originate.
“We’re going to work out something where every time someone comes in from a certain country, we are going to deduct a rather large sum of money,” he said.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Reade Levinson; Editing by Peter Cooney