Rubio: MS-13 an ‘evil, horrifying organization’

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (R-Fla.) on Wednesday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE's mention of MS-13 in his State of the Union address, rejecting the suggestion that the president used the gang to allude to immigrants more broadly.

"The bottom line is MS-13 is an evil, horrifying organization that's killing and hurting people all over the country," Rubio said on CBS's "This Morning." "Of course the majority of immigrants are not members of MS-13."

"[Trump] never said they were," he added. "And my second point is, the majority of the victims of MS-13 happen to be from immigrant families and immigrant communities."

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"MS-13 does not go into Beverly Hills. MS-13 is in communities where other immigrants are living and that is who they prey on and that is who they harm."

In his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump seized on violence committed by members of MS-13 to call on Congress to tighten immigration laws and "close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13 and other criminal gangs" to enter the United States.

The line was a familiar one for Trump, who has pushed for increased border security and the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Critics accused Trump of using the gang to target immigrants more broadly. But Rubio said that refraining from targeting MS-13 would be "like saying that you can't criticize the mafia because they're Italian-American."