John already covered the outrageous case of the author of the New York City terror attack adding insult to injury last night. For the record, I’m not bothering with the usual protocol of saying “alleged” since Sayfullo Saipov has already admitted, or even bragged about his crimes to investigators. Asking for an ISIS flag to hang up in his hospital room is pretty much the act of an unrepentant demon who is likely disappointed to find himself alive rather than being on the way to his eternal “reward.”
Clearly we weren’t the only ones noticing his offensive antics. The White House was watching the story and President Trump, as usual, took to Twitter late last night to comment.
This immediately shifted the story in the media from Saipov’s crimes to how the President was handling it. (Reuters)
U.S. President Donald Trump called for the death penalty on Wednesday for an Uzbek immigrant accused of plowing a truck down a New York City bike path, killing eight people, describing the man as a “terrorist.”
Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who was hospitalized after he was shot by a police officer and arrested, told investigators he had been inspired by watching Islamic State videos and began planning Tuesday’s attack a year ago, according to a criminal complaint filed against him on Wednesday.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!” Trump tweeted.
First of all, President Trump is giving voice to what a lot of Americans are thinking and actually saying all around the country. I’ve seen the same sentiments expressed on social media more times than I could count and I’ve even tweeted something similar myself. It’s what the man does on a regular basis and we’ve probably started getting used to it by now.
But with that said, there are reasons that Trump probably should have kept his powder dry on this one. No matter how much many of us would agree with those opinions, this is still the Twitter account of the President of the United States and Saipov is going to have an attorney representing him. Even one of the greenest lawyers at the Public Defender’s office would have a fair shot at making the case that his client will never be able to get a fair trial after that sort of pronouncement from the President.
Would that result in his walking free? I certainly hope not, particularly with this much evidence stacked against him, but why take the chance? Trump has also suggested sending Saipov to Gitmo. (Also not a bad idea if you ask me.) But that should be handled through the regular order of dealing with such prosecutions. All the President is accomplishing at this point is loading up ammunition for the terrorist’s defense.
Perhaps the horse has already left the barn on this one, but we could at least avoid compounding an already complicated situation if President Trump just gave the Saipov case a pass and said that the appropriate authorities will be dealing with it. He doesn’t even need to do it for political reasons. I don’t think anyone, including his most vehement detractors, has ever accused him of being soft on terror.