President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has considered sending Sayfullo Saipov, the terrorist behind Tuesday’s deadly attack in Manhattan, to Guantanamo Bay for a military trial.
“I would certainly consider this. I would certainly consider that, sending him to Gitmo,” he said at the White House.
The president also called for “quicker” and “tougher” punishment for terrorists, criticizing the U.S. justice system for not being strong enough.
“We need quick justice and we need strong justice. What we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. [The U.S. needs] punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”
“Terrorists are constantly seeking to strike our nation and it will require the unflinching devotion to our law enforcement, homeland security and intelligence professionals to keep America safe,” he said.
Trump blamed "politically correct" culture for the existence of terrorism in the U.S. today.
“We have to get much tougher and we have to get much smarter. And we have to get much less politically correct. We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything. We will never waiver in the defense of our beloved country,” he said.
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham joined Trump's call Wednesday to send Saipov to Gitmo.
“Take him to Guantanamo. He’s a terrorist and he should be kept there. And there’s no Miranda rights for somebody who kills Americans,” McCain told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.
In a joint statement with Graham, McCain said Saipov “should not be read Miranda rights, as enemy combatants are not entitled to them.”
Graham added that Saipov "should be held as enemy combatant under the law of war.”
Saipov became a legal permanent resident seven years ago after coming to the U.S. on a Diversity Immigrant lottery visa. Immediately after the attack Tuesday, Trump called for harsher vetting on immigrants. He did not bring up his travel ban, however, which would have failed to prevent the killings. Saipov moved to the U.S. from Uzbekistan, a country that has not been named in Trump’s ban.
Trump's tough rhetoric following the attack in New York City differs greatly from his response to the Las Vegas shooting. Trump has been much more vocal about immigration policy than he was about the gun control debate. Republicans accused liberals of politicizing the deaths in Las Vegas. Nine victims have now become political footballs for the Trump administration and the GOP establishment.