Trump says he would consider sending NYC attack suspect to Guantánamo Bay

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

President Trump says he would consider sending the suspect in Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City to the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“I would certainly consider that,” Trump said when asked by a reporter what he would like to see done with the alleged attacker. “Send him to Gitmo.”

Officials say the 29-year-old suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, killed eight people and wounded 13 others when he drove a rented pickup truck along a bike path in lower Manhattan. Saipov ran from the pickup truck after ramming into a school bus, brandishing what police later determined were fake weapons. He was shot in the abdomen by a police officer, arrested and taken to a New York City hospital. He has yet to be formally charged.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, no suspected terrorists detained on U.S. soil have been sent to Guantánamo.

According to the State Department, Saipov, a legal permanent U.S. resident, immigrated from his native Uzbekistan in March 2010 through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, which is designed to increase the number of immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. through a lottery system.

Trump said Wednesday that he is starting the process of terminating the program.

“I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program,” he said, adding: “Diversity lottery — sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good.”

Related: Trump incorrectly blames Obama for freeing ‘vicious’ Gitmo detainees

Trump called for “quicker and stronger” justice for terrorists.

“We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything,” he said. “What we have right now is a joke. It’s a laughingstock.”

Trump’s suggestion about sending Saipov to Gitmo came after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called on the president to treat the alleged attacker as an enemy combatant.

“The terrorist attack in New York is the latest brutal, horrific example of the war that radical Islamist extremists are waging against our nation and our way of life,” McCain said in a statement Wednesday. “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. 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. He should not be read Miranda Rights, as enemy combatants are not entitled to them. As soon as possible, the administration should notify Congress how it plans to proceed with the interrogation and trial of this suspect.”

McCain said he agreed with Trump’s criticism of the visa program, which he, along with a bipartisan group of senators, tried to eliminate with a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed in 2013. (The legislation died in the House.)

“Now more than ever, Congress should come together to devise and pass legislation to fully and humanely reform our broken immigration system and secure the homeland,” McCain said.

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