Following a mass shooting and the arrest of a suspected gunman at a synagogue in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump used the opportunity to call for tougher criminal justice penalties.
Specifically, he told reporters that the person responsible for the Saturday morning massacre deserves to receive capital punishment.
“I think one thing we should do is we should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty,” the president said.
“I think one thing we should do is we should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty. When people do this, they should get the death penalty,” President Trump says after shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue pic.twitter.com/5MDgebRl41
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 27, 2018
Trump went on to criticize what he believes are the unnecessary delays in the execution of those sentenced to death row.
“When people do this, they should get the death penalty,” he said. “And they shouldn’t have to wait years and years. Now the lawyers will get involved and everybody is going to get involved and we’ll be 10 years down the line.”
Reiterating his call to “stiffen up laws,” Trump shared his belief that the criminal justice system “should very much bring the death penalty into vogue.”
He said certain cases should automatically rise to the level of capital punishment.
“Anybody that does a thing like this, that innocent people are in temple or in church — and you have so many incidents with churches — they should be, they should really suffer the ultimate price,” Trump said. “They should pay the ultimate price.”
Trump has long been a proponent of the death penalty, suggesting as president that drug dealers should face the death penalty in some cases.
“We’re wasting our time if we don’t get tough with drug dealers, and that toughness includes the death penalty,” he said earlier this year in announcing a new policy to combat the opioid crisis.
Trump mentioned his longstanding endorsement of the death penalty in his comments this week.
“I felt that way for a long time,” he said. “Some people disagree with me. I can’t imagine why.”
He indicated he would offer additional comments on the matter at an event later in the day.
“But this has to stop,” Trump said. “So we’re going to have a statement at our stop with the young farmers.”
At least a dozen people, including multiple police officers, were shot at the Tree of Life synagogue.
A suspect has been arrested and identified by authorities as 46-year-old Robert Bowers. CNN cited one law enforcement source who indicated the gunman made anti-Semitic remarks as he opened fire.
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell D. Hissrich described the crime scene as “horrific” and “one of the worst” he has ever seen.
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