Fr. James Martin joins chorus falsely accusing Trump of calling immigrants ‘animals’
April 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT celebrity priest and Vatican advisor Fr. James Martin lent his voice to the chorus of outrage over the weekend denouncing a video clip that purportedly shows President Donald Trump calling illegal immigrants “animals,” despite the accusation having already been debunked almost a year ago.
Last May, the White House hosted a roundtable discussion on illegal immigration, during which Trump was asked a question about the notorious international street gang MS-13.
MS-13 is a criminal organization spanning several Central and South American countries, and is believed to have as many as 10,000 members operating in the United States. The gang is reviled for its extreme brutalities, such as mutilation, public execution, rape, torture, and decapitation of victims including children.
“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” the president said during his answer. Spreading clips of Trump’s answer that omitted the preceding question, hostile media outlets and left-wing activists pushed the claim that Trump was calling immigrants generally “animals” rather than MS-13 members.
Despite last year’s uproar being met with forceful corrections by conservatives and the White House itself, the misleading clip resurfaced this weekend, complete with a fresh wave of condemnations of Trump.
Among them was Jesuit priest Fr. Martin, who tweeted Saturday morning that the president was using the same “language used by Nazis against Jews (‘vermin’), Hutus against Tutsis (‘cockroaches’) and American slaveowners against slaves (‘animals’).” He accused Trump of forgetting that everyone “is a child of God” and predicted that “murder and genocide will follow.”
This is the language used by Nazis against Jews ("vermin"), Hutus against Tutsis ("cockroaches") and American slaveowners against slaves ("animals"). Once you've labeled people as animals, violence, murder and genocide will follow. Every person, every migrant, is a child of God. https://t.co/fdmEOSfvkI— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) April 6, 2019
That afternoon, Martin followed up with a “correction” tweet that the video was “a 2018 clip” that is “once again being debated.” Yet Martin appears to only be correcting his false claim that the comments were recent, and does not acknowledge that Trump was not referring to immigrants or asylum-seekers.
Correction: It is a 2018 clip, recently surfaced in the last few days and once again being debated. It is wrong no matter who says it, and when they say it.— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) April 6, 2019
Two minutes before his Twitter “correction,” Martin also published a Facebook post containing the same denunciation from his original tweet.
The priest’s latest comments echo those Martin made last year when the story first arose. At the time, he tweeted that Trump’s language was “a grave sin,” cited the same examples of “language that led to the extermination of Jews (‘vermin’) in Germany and of Tutsi (‘cockroaches’) in Rwanda,” and claimed that even directing such pejoratives at MS-13 would lead to it being “applied to entire classes of people”:
Calling people animals is sinful. Every human being has infinite dignity. Moreover, this is the same kind of language that led to the extermination of Jews ("vermin") in Germany and of Tutsi ("cockroaches") in Rwanda. This kind of language cannot be normalized. It is a grave sin. https://t.co/5VvURONwvh— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) May 16, 2018
To be clear, even members of MS-13 are not "animals." Every human being has dignity, even the worst criminals, even murderers. The main danger of the "animal" language is that it begins with criminals, and then is applied to entire classes of people (i.e., migrants, Tutsi, Jews).— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) May 17, 2018
This is not the first time the pro-LGBT priest has come under fire for promoting a false accusation then refusing to unequivocally correct it. In January, he condemned March for Life attendees from Covington Catholic High School for allegedly “attempt[ing] to shame and disrespect” indigenous people’s activist Nathan Phillips with “contemptuous laughter,” accusing the Kentucky teens of failing to “underst[and] the dignity of all human life.”
When additional video and accounts of the incident soon showed the boys had done nothing of the kind, Martin “apologize[d] to them for my judgment of them,” but insisted their “actions remain unclear” and “we may never know what was going on inside the hearts of the students.” He also criticized them for wearing pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats at the pro-life event.