Donald Trump spoke to a crowd in Florida last night and railed against the bombings in New York and New Jersey. His firebrand speech was in line with much of his heated rhetoric, but then the Republican presidential nominee threw in a curve ball.
When he spoke to the crowd about Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspected bomber captured in New Jersey earlier in the day, Trump came out and said that Rahami–who is an American citizen–shouldn’t be protected by our Constitution.
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Much of this rhetoric was shrouded in Trump’s inflammatory humor. Rahami, he said, would get “room service” in the hospital while his gunshot wounds are being treated. Rahami, Trump said, would be treated by “some of the best doctors in the world” and be represented by “an outstanding lawyer.”
“Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world,” Trump said in Fort Myers, Florida.
Critics of Trump’s position point out that Rahami, who is a U.S. citizen, has the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment–just like every other American.
Yet there is a push from Republicans to have Rahami, and others like him, declared enemy combatants.Doing so would strip them of their constitutional protections.
There are direct parallels, however, to the Democratic push to remove Second Amendment protections from those on the so-called Terrorist Watch List. Just who is on this list, and how they get there is shrouded in secrecy. Just what would make someone an enemy combatant is equally nebulous.
Yet Trump’s comments go beyond constitutional protections, and hit at the heart of something larger. Rahami, Trump said “will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room, and he’ll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is.”
“His case will go through the various court systems for years. And in the end, people will forget, and his punishment won’t be what it once would have been,” Trump said. “What a sad situation.”
Rahami faces five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and two gun charges, authorities said Monday afternoon. Bail has been set at $5.2 million and he remains in hospital.