Jeremy Diamond, CNN - White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump was "very clearly" speaking about MS-13 gang members who enter the US illegally when he called criminals who cross the US-Mexico border illegally "animals" during an event at the White House on Wednesday.

"This is one of the most vicious and deadly gangs that operates by the motto of rape, control and kill," Sanders said. "If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to. Frankly I don't think the term that the President used was strong enough."

Trump a day earlier lamented the illegal entry of MS-13 gang members into the US during a White House roundtable on immigration issues.

"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in. ... You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals," Trump said on Wednesday.

His comment came after Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims talked about her struggles in navigating state and federal laws to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to "find the bad guys" in their jails and specifically said "there could be an MS-13 member," before Trump interjected with his "animals" comment.

Sanders on Thursday went on to describe in graphic terms several violent crimes she said were carried out by MS-13 gang members.

"It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and rip his heart out. It took an animal to beat a woman they were sex trafficking with a bat 28 times, indenting part of her body. And it took an animal to kidnap, drug and rape a 14-year old Houston girl," Sanders said. "Frankly I think the term animal doesn't go far enough, and I think that the President should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible disgusting people."

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