President Trump suggested sending the New York City “terrorist” to Guantanamo Bay early Thursday, but because he says the process “takes much longer,” Trump called for the “DEATH PENALTY” in the wake of the deadly attack in lower Manhattan this week.
“Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system,” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. “There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!”
Saipov was charged Wednesday with providing support to a terrorist organization. In addition to that charge, he faces eight murder and multiple attempted murder counts and one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle — a charge that could carry the death penalty.
Investigators have uncovered several pieces of evidence linking Saipov to ISIS. Officials found notes left in the rented truck, containing a pledge of allegiance to ISIS. The notes were handwritten and had symbols and Arabic words on them stating: “Islamic State would endure forever.”
Saipov entered the U.S. in 2010 from Uzbekistan through the State Department’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which Trump has vowed to end this week.
“We have to come up with a punishment that is much worse than what these animals are getting now,” Trump said in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, also suggesting Saipov move to Guantanamo.
But sending Saipov to the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay would require, at a minimum, classifying him as an enemy combatant, something the White House said they consider him to be.
“I believe we would consider this person to be an enemy combatant, yes,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.
The legality of a move to GITMO is not clear, as Saipov was a lawful resident of the U.S. No terrorist has been sent to GITMO under such circumstances.
The type of visa Saipov possessed also could have allowed dozens of his family members into the U.S.
The State Department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment as to whether Saipov’s family members currently reside in the U.S.
“We will take all of the necessary steps to take care of our communities and our country as a whole,” Trump said Wednesday. “What we have now is a joke and a laughingstock.”
Congressional Republicans, including Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., along with House Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and other Republicans, have rallied around the president’s calls for reforming the Diversity Visa ‘Lottery’ Program, and called for a merit-based system.
Fox News' Katherine Lam, Joseph Weber and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.