The good news is that authorities have taken the suspected Chelsea bomber into custody. The bad news is that they provided him with medical care and are honoring his constitutional right to an attorney. Or, at least, that’s how the afternoon’s events look to the Republican nominee.
Speaking in Florida, Donald Trump praised law enforcement for capturing Ahmad Khan Rahami, after wounding the suspected terrorist in a shootout.
“But the bad part: Now we will give him amazing hospitalization,” Trump continued. “He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he’ll probably even have room service knowing the way our country is.”
“On top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer,” Trump added. “And his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation. We must have speedy but fair trials and we must deliver a just and very harsh punishment to these people.”
The Republican nominee did not say whether the police should leave American citizens suspected of terrorism to bleed out in the street upon shooting them — or whether they should merely deliver the wounded suspects to the worst available hospital. Likewise, it’s unclear whether a Trump administration would seek the repeal of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to a lawyer for criminal defendants, or whether it would merely require their lawyers to be as ineffective as this one:
In all seriousness, the fact that the GOP nominee is bemoaning an American citizen’s constitutional right to legal representation (and, perhaps, his protection against “cruel and unusual punishment”?) is shocking. Or, at least, it would be, if Trump hadn’t exhausted our capacity for shock.
Thankfully, we can count on reasonable Republicans in Congress to act as a check on President Trump’s authoritarian instincts.