Trump Says Migrants Storming Mexico Border Are 'Grabbers'

Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign bid was temporarily derailed by the emergence of an interview he'd given a decade earlier that featured a quote of him saying that fame allows him to do anything, including grabbing a woman "by the p****".

Though long forgotten in political terms, the president pulled his grabbing reference at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Monday night.

Trump referred to migrants on the well-established caravan who rushed the San Ysidro, California, point of entry on Sunday with children as human shields as "grabbers."

"We've had some very violent people, and we don't want, frankly, those people in our society," Trump said at the event. "We don't want those people in our country. Three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones."

Read more: Mexico demands investigation of Trump's "very safe" tear gas attack

U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said Monday that four border control agents, donned with protective gear, were hit with rocks during an "extremely dangerous situation." None of them were severely hurt.

Border agents fired tear gas into a group of migrants who had rushed the border and hurled objects.

"I do say—why are they there? First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself—it's very safe, the ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there. But you really say, why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming, and it's going to be formed, and they're running up with a child?"

McAleenan said 69 people were detained once they crossed the border on Sunday. Although, the border patrol couldn't confirm whether or not some migrants fled through security. The president said some of those who bum rushed security points may have used children as shields, or grabbing them as protection.

"In some cases, you know, they're not the parents. These are people, they call 'em 'grabbers'—they grab the child, because they think they're gonna have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages and things with our crazy laws that frankly Congress should be changing. You know, if you change the laws, you wouldn't have this problem," Trump said.

Trump said those on the migrant caravan seeking asylum in the U.S. feel like they have an advantage when they're with a young child.

"They call 'em grabbers, that's a term I've heard," Trump said. "They grab a child, because when they have a child, they feel a lot safer. When you know there's going to be potential violence, you know there's going to be tear gas or something, you don't take your child and bring them there. I can say that all over the border, you have a lot of grabbers, you have a lot of people who grab children, and they have no idea who these children are. They're not parents. They have no idea. And frankly to release the children to these people is a disaster."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday she stood by the president's remarks.

"It appears in some cases that the limited number of women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as 'human shields' when they confront law enforcement," Nielsen said. "They are being put at risk by the caravan organizers as we saw at the Mexico-Guatemala border. This is putting vulnerable people in harm's way."

Trump on Monday defended the border agents' firing tear gas, saying it was their initial defense against being attacked and having rocks and bottles thrown at them while being rushed.

This article was updated to change the headline and add minor edits throughout.