Wall Street Journal reporter and MSNBC contributor Eli Stokols is upset that President Trump called for the death penalty when discussing New York City terrorist Sayfullo Saipov but didn’t mention the death penalty when discussing the already-dead Las Vegas shooter.
“The unifying thread is sort of the broad politics of Donald Trump, the ethno-centric nationalism. He did not react this way when a white person shot dozens of people in Las Vegas… We need to give this guy the death penalty,” Eli Stokols told MSNBC host Nicole Wallace.
Wallace didn’t mention that the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, is already dead.
Trump took to Twitter to condemn Saipov after he killed eight people on Tuesday in Lower Manhattan in what is being described as a terror attack. Saipov reportedly wanted to fly an ISIS flag in his hospital room and "wanted to kill as many people as he could," according to a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room,” Trump tweeted. “He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”
While both attacks are tragic and horrifying, Stokols attempted to paint Trump as someone who is harder on an ISIS-affiliated terrorist than a deranged white man who gunned down fellow Americans. Paddock opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas last month, killing 58 people and injuring over 500 more, in what is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
The problem for Stokols is that Paddock was killed by suicide as police closed in on his Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel room. Since he’s dead, he’s obviously not a candidate for the death penalty – making the MSNBC correspondent’s point essentially meaningless.
Trump did refer to Paddock as “demented” and a “very sick individual,” so it’s not like the president spoke kindly about him. He simply didn’t call for the death penalty… because you can’t kill someone who is already dead.
The Gateway Pundit called Stokols “moronic,” while the Media Research Center said the Wall Street Journal “needs to better police the people that it has in important positions… if it wants people to take its journalism seriously.”
Stokols issued the following comment to Fox News: “I am aware the Vegas shooter is already dead; and I did not mean to sound critical of President Trump for failing to call for the death penalty in that case. I understand how ridiculous that sounds. I was making a broader point about the president’s responses to Las Vegas, where he did not push for a policy change, and Charlottesville, where he did not call for the death penalty after a driver crashed into a crowd, in comparison to his more emotionally charged rhetoric following the terrorist attack this week — calling to end the visa lottery, labeling the driver an ‘animal’ and urging for the death penalty. As I acknowledged Thursday night, I did not distinguish clearly enough between the different circumstances in my on-air remarks, which I regret."