Donald Trump calls migrants 'animals,' then lies about talking to murder victim's family

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Donald Trump’s ignorant racist slur of migrants this week isn’t new … for him.

While in Michigan, Trump doubled down on the dehumanizing rhetoric he uses to bolster his political campaign, portraying individuals in the country illegally as less than human.

After talking about the case of Laken Riley — the 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia allegedly murdered by a Venezuelan immigrant in the country illegally — Trump said, “The Democrats say, ‘Please don’t call them animals. They're humans.’ I said, ‘No, they’re not humans, they’re not humans, they’re animals.’ ”

Then, Trump described meeting the family of Ruby Garcia, a 25-year-old allegedly murdered by a man she was dating and who police say is in the country illegally.

Trump never spoke to Garcia's family

Former President Donald Trump campaigns for reelection on April 02, 2024, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Former President Donald Trump campaigns for reelection on April 02, 2024, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Except Garcia’s sister said Trump never spoke with the family.

Trump said of the young victim, “They said she had just this most contagious laughter, and when she walked into a room, she lit up that room, and I’ve heard that from so many people. I spoke to some of her family.” Which apparently mimicked lines from her obituary.

Mavi Garcia, Ruby’s sister, told an NBC affiliate, “He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us.”

Among the MAGA cult, pretending to have spoken to the family of a murder victim — something that would end the career of any other politician — is not shocking. In fact, it doesn’t bother them one bit.

Mavi Garcia added, “Nobody really speaks about when Americans do heinous crimes, and it’s kind of shocking why he would just bring up illegals. What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that? The focus should be on my sister right now, who she was in life. I want people to remember who she was in life.”

Truth doesn't fit the campaign narrative

Talking about Americans who do heinous crimes doesn’t fit Trump’s campaign narrative.

It never has.

It’s why Laken Riley’s killing has been a national news story and Preston Lord’s has not.

GOP uses Arizona: To exhume Trump's pervy problems

It also doesn’t matter to Trump that those who study criminal trends say migrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

People in the country illegally aren’t the first group of people Trump has demonized as “animals.” He has a long, well-documented history of doing so with various individuals and groups.

Sadly, Trump's racist rhetoric works

He was calling for the death penalty of the so-called Central Park Five shortly after the five Black and Latino men were arrested for the rape of a jogger in New York in 1989. Years later, when the five were exonerated by way of DNA evidence and a confession from the actual rapist, Trump still called them guilty.

It’s how Trump operates. Demonize an entire racial or ethnic group based on the actions of a few individuals in order to spread fear, then paint yourself as a protector.

The conservative Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez, in a social media thread aimed at something Trump said, summed it up succinctly. He wrote, “This is a textbook case of how dehumanizing and racist rhetoric works.”

That’s the worst of it, really.

It works.

Reach Montini at

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trump calls migrants 'animals,' then does something worse