Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday complained that under U.S. law, bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami would be treated in a hospital for his injuries, and represented by a lawyer if, and when, he is tried for his alleged role in a string of bombings in New York and New Jersey.
“Now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world,” Trump told the crowd at a rally in Fort Myers, Florida.
Rahami “will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room, and he’ll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is,” Trump said. “On top of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer.”
Trump’s objection to granting Rahami, a U.S. citizen, his constitutional right to due process, which is guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment, is in keeping with other comments Trump has made about national security and individual rights.
Still, it was chilling to hear Trump scoff at a fundamental American value. He seemed to be saying that criminal suspects should not receive emergency medical care or legal representation.
Rahami, 28, was taken into custody Monday morning in New Jersey after police identified his fingerprint on an unexploded bomb. After a shootout with police, Rahami was injured and taken to a hospital, where he remains under arrest. The FBI has said that so far there is no evidence that Rahami was part of a “terror cell,” or that he was acting on behalf of a foreign terrorist group such as the so-called Islamic State.
Trump also complained that Rahami’s punishment might be too lenient, because public anger would likely have subsided by the time Rahami would be sentenced, if he were to be found guilty of the bombings.
“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.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday appeared to agree with Trump, calling on the Obama administration to suspend many of Rahami’s constitutional rights by designating him an “enemy combatant.” The label that would allow prosecutors and investigators to forego reading Rahami his Miranda rights or appointing a lawyer to defend him.
In 2013, Graham and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be tried as an enemy combatant following the Boston Marathon bombing. Tsarnaev carried out the terror attack with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by police before he could be apprehended. The Obama administration refused Graham’s request, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s case was tried in a civilian court.