By Philip Rucker/ The Washington Post/
President Trump said Wednesday that he is considering sending the Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people in Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the United States must be “much tougher” with its treatment of terror suspects.
Trump also called on Congress to immediately dismantle the State Department’s Diversity Visa Lottery program, through which authorities have said the suspected attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, came to the United States from Uzbekistan.
“Diversity lottery — sounds nice. It’s not nice,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with his Cabinet. “It’s not good. It’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it.”
He added, “I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program.”
Speaking generally, Trump said U.S. immigration laws and the criminal justice system’s handling of suspects are “a joke” and “a laughingstock.”
“We have to get much tougher,” he said. “We have to get much smarter. And we have to get much less politically correct. We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything.”
Trump said the United States needs a system of “punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years… We need quick justice, and we need strong justice.”
Trump said that terrorists are “constantly seeking to strike our nation,” and that keeping the country safe will require the “unflinching devotion to our law enforcement, homeland security and intelligence professionals.”
[‘A Chuck Schumer beauty’: Trump calls for end to diversity visa program]
Referring to Saipov as an “animal,” Trump said the 29-year-old was responsible for the entry of 23 immigrants, many of them family members. The president said this “chain migration” endangers national security.
“This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people, and he was the primary point of contact for — and this is preliminarily — 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him,” Trump said. “That’s not acceptable.”
Asked whether Saipov’s family members represent a security threat, Trump said, “They certainly could. He did. They certainly could represent a threat.”
When a reporter asked whether Saipov should be sent to Guantanamo Bay, Trump replied, “I would certainly consider that, yes. Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that.”
Trump — as well as some allies on the far right — seized on the Diversity Visa Lottery program and criticized Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a culprit.
In 1990, Schumer, then a House member, introduced the bill that helped create the visa program, which passed Congress with a bipartisan majority and was signed into law by former president George H.W. Bush, a Republican. In 2013, however, Schumer was part of a bipartisan group of senators who sought to end the program as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.
In a series of Wednesday morning tweets, Trump sought to blame Schumer for the attack and accused the Democratic leader of being too soft on immigration laws.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
Nov 1, 2017