Mehdi Hassan, a columnist for the Intercept and a presenter for Al Jazeera TV, tweeted his frustration that he had never “heard Trump call for the death penalty for a white supremacist terrorist,” one day after white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee was executed by the federal government.
Hassan claimed that, while Trump supports the death penalty for members of the MS-13 gang who murder children, the president has not directed the same ire toward white supremacists.
Whatever your view on MS-13 or on the death penalty, ask yourself this: have you ever heard Trump call for the death penalty for a white supremacist terrorist? Have you ever heard him passionately denounce white supremacist murderers as "monsters"? You know the answers – and why. https://t.co/AQSVtAj4x8
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) July 15, 2020
But Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar was quick to point out in response that Daniel Lewis Lee, who was a member of the white supremacist Aryan People’s Republic and who was convicted of murdering a family as part of a plan to establish a whites-only settlement, was executed on Tuesday.
The federal government literally executed a white supremacist yesterday. https://t.co/t4qJsYNdDC
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) July 15, 2020
It was the first federal execution in 17 years, and was strongly pushed for by the Trump administration. “Justice was done today in implementing the sentence for Lee’s horrific offenses,” said Attorney General Bill Barr.
Hassan’s claim that Trump has not “passionately denounced” white supremacists is also untrue. On August 14, 2017, after demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia that included some white nationalists, Trump made a statement condemning racism and violence. “Racism is evil,” he said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
In a conversation with a reporter the next day, Trump added that “the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists…they should be condemned totally.”
In 2019, after a shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, Trump again spoke out against white supremacy and race-motivated crimes.
“Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” he said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
He also noted that he had directed the FBI to “identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism.”