President Donald Trump on Wednesday condemned an attack in New York City on Tuesday that left eight people dead and 11 injured as a “horrible act” committed by an “animal.”
At the opening of a meeting with his Cabinet, Trump called for “punishment that’s far quicker, and far greater, than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”
“They’ll go through court for years. At the end, who knows what happens,” Trump said.
It was not clear what the President was advocating in place of the rights codified by the Sixth Amendment—”a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State.”
In response to a reporter’s question, however, Trump said he would “certainly consider” sending the attacker to the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
“I would certainly consider that. Send him to Gitmo,” Trump said. “I would certainly consider that, yes.”
Trump said that he will ask Congress to “immediately initiate work” to end the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which he claimed the attacker used to enter the United States, though officials have not yet said whether that is true.
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program,” Trump said. “Sounds nice. It’s not good. it’s not good. It hasn’t been good. We’ve been against it. So we want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program on terminating it.”
Trump said he wants “a merit-based program” in its place.
“We have to get much less politically correct,” he said. “We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything.”
At the top of the meeting, Trump said that “all of America is praying and grieving” with the families of the victims.
“Our hearts break for them,” he said.
Officials on Wednesday identified the driver as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old who immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan legally in 2010. According to authorities, Saipov shouted “God is great” in Arabic after he crashed his vehicle into a school bus and disembarked.
John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy police commissioner for intelligence, on Wednesday said Saipov “did this in the name of ISIS.”
As of Wednesday, Saipov was in critical condition but expected to survive after a police officer shot him in the abdomen a day earlier.
Trump’s rhetoric about the New York attack was unusually strong. While the President is quick to condemn acts he considers “radical Islamic terrorism,” he is less quick to respond to incidents where Muslims have been targeted, and has referred to crimes committed by white supremacists and hate groups using far kinder terms.