Trump calls for death penalty for NYC terror suspect, considers him ‘enemy combatant’
President Donald Trump called for the New York City terror suspect to get the death penalty in a late-night tweet Wednesday just hours after Sayfullo Saipov was charged with providing support to ISIS and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
Trump referenced Saipov’s request to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room, an anecdote relayed by authorities Wednesday afternoon, and said he “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!” in all capital letters.
NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
Earlier in the afternoon, Trump raised the possibility of sending the alleged perpetrator to Guantanamo Bay prison. The White House press secretary said the administration considers him to be an “enemy combatant.”
“I believe we would consider this person to be an enemy combatant,” Sarah Sanders said in response to questioning at Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
As an “enemy combatant,” Saipov, the suspect in the attack, could face an altered interrogation and prosecution process.
Trump earlier condemned the United States criminal justice system and labeled Saipov an “animal.”
“We have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now,” Trump said. He added: “What we have right now is a joke” before responding affirmatively when asked if he wanted the alleged assailant to be sent to the Cuban prison notorious for housing alleged terrorists and enemy combatants.
“I would certainly consider it. Send him to Gitmo,” he said, using a nickname for Guantanamo Bay. “I would certainly consider it.”
The president further signaled his intention to “terminate the diversity lottery program,” the visa lottery under which Saipov was admitted from Uzbekistan seven years ago. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Saipov utilized the program Wednesday. Trump said he would be asking Congress to “get rid of” the policy in favor of a “merit-based program.”
Earlier in the day, Trump pointed a finger at Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for the immigration policies he claims are connected to the attack that left eight people dead and many more injured.
“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday.
Trump also promoted the suggested “merit-based” immigration system.
By Trump swaying the decision early and attempting to bully the judiciary, he could possibly have tainted the case against Saipov.