A day after the deadly terrorist attack in New York that killed at least eight people, President Trump said suspect Sayfullo Saipov should get the death penalty and that he would consider sending him to Guantanamo as an enemy combatant even though he has already been charged in civilian court.
Saipov, 29, was arrested Tuesday after police said he drove a rented pickup truck into a pedestrian and bicycle path in Manhattan, mowing down dozens of people. The suspect, who is a native of Uzbekistan and a legal resident of the U.S., was charged Wednesday in Manhattan federal court with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Authorities said they found a note in the truck pledging loyalty to the Islamic State.
The president, asked by reporters on Wednesday if he would consider sending the suspect to the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center, said: “I certainly would consider that,” adding: “Send him to Gitmo, I would certainly consider that, yes.”
At a White House briefing later, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump would consider Saipov “an enemy combatant.”
The president also called the U.S. criminal justice system as it applies to terrorism suspects “a joke” and “a laughingstock.”
“We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now,” he said.
“They’ll go through court for years. And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens,” the president said. “We need quick justice and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now.”