On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he would consider sending the suspected terrorist who killed eight and injured roughly a dozen others in New York City on Tuesday to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba.
“Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that, yes,” President Trump said to reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham advocated for Sayfullo Saipov to be held as an enemy combatant.
“If you take up arms against the United States in the name of radical Islam, you should be treated as a terrorist,” Graham said. “You’ll never convince me that the best way to gather intelligence in this war… is reading them their Miranda rights.”
“From Orlando to San Bernardino and Boston to Manhattan, we must not consider these attacks on our homeland in isolation, but rather recognize them for what they are: acts of war,” McCain said in a statement. “As such, the New York terror suspect should be held and interrogated — thoroughly, responsibly and humanely — as an enemy combatant consistent with the Law of Armed Conflict.”
Trump also called on Congress to get rid of the current U.S. State Department’s Diversity Visa Lottery program that authorities say the suspected terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, used to get into the United States.
“Diversity lottery — sounds nice. It’s not nice,” Trump told reporters. “It’s not good. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it.”
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program,” he added.
Trump argued that the U.S. justice system takes too long and is a “laughing stock” when handling suspects.
“We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker… than the punishment these animals are getting right now,” Trump said. “We need quick justice and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughing stock, and no wonder so much of this stuff [terrorism] takes place.”
Trump said that Saipov was responsible for helping with the entry of 23 immigrants, something that he considers to be a threat to national security.
“This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people, and he was the primary point of contact for — and this is preliminarily — 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him,” Trump said. “That’s not acceptable.”
Trump criticized Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, for introducing the bill that led to the program that was passed in the House and Senate with a bipartisan majority.
The Immigration Act of 1990 was passed into law by President George H.W. Bush, but in 2013, Schumer and other senators looked to get rid of the program as part of a new immigration reform package.
Schumer responded Wednesday morning and said that President Trump should not be politicizing the attack.
“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution – anti-terrorism funding – which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m calling on the President to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital anti-terrorism funding.”