Trump blames gangs of illegal immigrants for woes in Ferguson, St. Louis

By Kim Bell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug. 26–Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says gangs of immigrants in the country illegally are causing trouble in Ferguson and St. Louis, comments that aren’t ringing true with Ferguson’s mayor.

“You know a lot of the gangs that you see in Baltimore and in St. Louis and Ferguson and Chicago, do you know they’re illegal immigrants? They’re here illegally,” Trump said at a news conference Tuesday night in Dubuque, Iowa. “And they’re rough dudes. Rough people.”

He also said something similar on Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS in response to a question about his platform on illegal immigration: “We’re having tremendous trouble. You know, when you look at Ferguson and you look at St. Louis, like the other night, and you look at, let’s say, Baltimore and Chicago, the gangs … many of these gang members are illegal and they’re tough dudes.”

Trump pledged to get them out of the country if he is elected.

“They’re going to be gone so fast if I win that your head will spin,” he said Tuesday.

Mayor James Knowles of Ferguson on Wednesday said he has never seen any roving bands or gangs of immigrants in Ferguson.

“I work here in town, I live here and I’ve not seen them, and that’s not on our law enforcement’s radar,” Knowles, a Republican, said. “No large group of ethnically oriented gangs.”

Knowles added: “He’s making a lot of assumptions. I don’t think Donald Trump has ever set foot here.”

Knowles said Trump is free to talk about Ferguson, but said the candidate should come take a closer look.

“We do encourage Mr. Trump, any presidential candidate who is interested in these issues, we do encourage them to take an opportunity to come here and see things firsthand and work together with communities like us around the country,” Knowles said.

In Ferguson, Knowles is serving his second three-year term as mayor. The job is nonpartisan and candidates don’t run with a party affiliation, though Knowles is a longtime Republican. He was president of the St. Louis Young Republicans and he was chairman of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans.

Kim Bell — 314-340-8115

@kbellpd on Twitter


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