Trump compares migrants to Hannibal Lecter as he says they are coming from ‘insane asylums’

‘They’re not the same thing. An insane asylum is a mental institution on steroids. It’s Silence of the Lambs,’ former president says in meandering speech

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
,Katie Hawkinson
Saturday 24 February 2024 21:57 GMT
Related video: No one treated worse than January 6 insurrectionists, Trump claims

Donald Trump compared migrants to Hannibal Lecter as he claimed that they are coming from “insane asylums” during his almost 90-minute meandering and ominous speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The former president was speaking about his anti-Biden messaging efforts on Saturday, saying that “migrant crime” is a “new category of crime”.

“I wanted to call it Biden migrant crime [but that was] just too long,” Mr Trump said on stage at CPAC. “So we just call it migrant crime.

“We have a new category of migrant crime, and it's going to be more severe than violent crime and crime as we know it,” he added. “Because we have millions and millions of people and they came from prisons and jails. They came from mental institutions, and [were] insane.

“So they're not the same thing. An insane asylum is a mental institution on steroids. It's Silence of the Lambs. Okay, you know that Hannibal Lecter? They're all being deposited into our country,” he claimed. “And then you have terrorists and then you have drugs. And then you have human traffickers, and they're coming over at levels never [seen] before.

“We've never seen anything like this. Three years ago, we had the safest and most secure border in US history.” Mr Trump claimed. “We ended catch and release except when it was catch and release in Mexico. We had catch and release in our country. We built 571 miles of border wall – far more than I said I was going to build.”

A study by Stanford economist Ran Abramitzky released last summer found that immigrants haven’t increased crime in the last 140 years.

“First-generation immigrants have not been more likely to be imprisoned than people born in the United States since 1880,” Krysten Crawford at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research noted on 21 July 2023.

“Today, immigrants are 30 percent less likely to be incarcerated than are U.S.-born individuals who are white, the study finds,” she added at the time. “And when the analysis is expanded to include Black Americans — whose prison rates are higher than the general population — the likelihood of an immigrant being incarcerated is 60 percent lower than of people born in the United States.”

Mr Trump claimed Black voters like him because of his many indictments and mug shot during a speech at the Black Conservative Foundation gala on Friday evening.

“I got indicted for nothing. They were doing it because it’s election interference. And then I got indicted a second time, a third time and a fourth time,” Mr Trump said. “And a lot of people said that that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against. And they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against. It’s been pretty amazing.”

The former president is currently facing 91 charges across several cases against him. Mr Trump gave the speech in South Carolina just hours before polls opened for the state’s presidential primary.

“The mug shot, we’ve all seen the mug shot, and you know who embraced it more than anybody else? The Black population,” he said later in the speech. “It’s incredible. You see Black people walking around with my mug shot, you know?”

Mr Trump is referring to his mugshot taken in Fulton County, Georgia last summer after he was booked on several charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Jonathan Capehart of MSNBC called the speech “unbelievably racist.”

“From Henry Cabot Lodge in the late 19th century to Donald Trump, anti-immigration politicians have repeatedly tried to link immigrants to crime, but our research confirms that this is a myth and not based on fact,” Mr Abramitzky noted last year.

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