Following a deadly attack on Halloween in New York City, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to demand hasty prosecution and punishment for the terror suspect behind the violence.
On Tuesday, eight people were killed by alleged attacker Sayfullo Saipov when he drove a rented Home Depot truck into a crowd of people on a bike path in Manhattan. A policeman shot the suspect in the stomach after he reportedly crashed the truck into a school bus and emerged from his vehicle holding fake guns. Saipov was later determined to have had terroristic motivations by authorities.
Trump wasted no time calling for capital punishment in the case:
At press conferences the day after the attack, Trump would go on to describe the US justice system as a "joke" and a "laughingstock," while press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House characterized Saipov as an "enemy combatant." Sanders, hours later, would deny Trump made those pejorative statements, baffling reporters.
"That's not what he said," Sanders explained. "He said that process has people calling us a joke and a laughingstock."
Trump also went on to criticize the diversity visa lottery program as a cause of the incident, calling for its termination: "That was a horrible event, and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it cold," he said.
"It is not clear whether the President legitimately did plan on making this novel or really quite dramatic legal argument if he did not understand what the words enemy combatant meant and what the ramifications of that kind of designation would mean here," said Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency attorney, of the situation.
While it is unusual for sitting presidents to comment on pending cases in progress, it is not unheard of. As BBC pointed out, President Nixon famously declared cult leader Charles Manson guilty long before the trial had concluded. He later walked back his comments.
Saipov is now currently recovering from his injuries in a hospital.
[Photo: Getty Images]