White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought Monday to dismiss criticism of President Trump’s use of the words “breeding concept” in a tweet last week in which he railed against “sanctuary” laws in California that protect undocumented immigrants.
After the tweet Wednesday, Trump came under fire from immigrants rights activists and others, who accused him of using racially loaded language that seemed to equate Latinos with animals.
In the tweet, Trump claimed that there was a “Revolution” taking place in California, with citizens increasingly rejecting “sanctuary areas,” which Trump described as “this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”
Asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta during Monday’s daily briefing whether Trump had used a derogatory term to refer to Latinos, Sanders said that wasn’t the case.
“No, he’s talking about the problem itself growing and getting bigger,” said Sanders, who was conducting her first briefing since the episode.
A few minutes later, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks returned to the issue, telling Sanders that “when you think of breeding, you think of animals.”
“I’m not going to begin to think what you think,” Sanders said. “The president’s talking about a growing problem.”
Brian Karem, a correspondent for Playboy, then pressed the issue, trying to get Sanders to clarify whether Trump had been talking about “having babies.”
“Not that I’m aware of, and I’d have to ask him to be more specific,” Sanders said.