AP deletes tweet on Trump's 'animals' comment: 'It wasn't made clear he was speaking' about MS-13

AP deletes tweet on Trump's 'animals' comment: 'It wasn't made clear he was speaking' about MS-13
© Associated Press/Twitter

The Associated Press has deleted a Wednesday tweet regarding President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE's characterization of MS-13 gang members who enter the U.S. illegally as "animals" after the news agency said "it wasn't made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members."

"AP has deleted a tweet from late Wednesday on Trump’s 'animals' comment about immigrants because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members," reads the tweet to the AP's 12.8 million followers on Thursday morning.

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The deletion comes the same morning that White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix White House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies First lady spokeswoman: Melania Trump 'hates to see' families separated at border MORE said the president is owed an apology from any organization that misreported or criticized him for calling undocumented immigrants "animals" when he was specifically referring to MS-13 gang members, considered by some as the most dangerous in the country.

The firestorm began after a White House meeting on Wednesday where Fresno County, Calif., Sheriff Margaret Mims was speaking about California "sanctuary city" laws.

“There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them," Mims said to the president.

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before," Trump responded.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday that the context of the comment was clear.

"If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13 they're more than welcome to," Sanders said in the White House press briefing. "Frankly, I don't think the term the president used is strong enough."

Many major news organizations, including The New York Times, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News and CNN, among others, referred to the president's comments without mentioning MS-13 in Twitter headlines to their millions of followers.

CNN sent a clarification tweet on Thursday afternoon, stating the MS-13 context was provided in the story itself.