Republican nominee Donald Trump said Thursday he’d be fine with trying Americans accused of terrorism at Guantanamo Bay.
Such a move is currently illegal under federal law. Trump would have to work together with Congress to change that law to allow Americans to be tried by military commissions.
While Trump didn’t tell the Miami Herald whether he’d allow terror suspects to be stored in Gitmo in the future, he has said he wants to keep the facility around to “load it up with bad dudes.”
“I want to make sure that if we have radical Islamic terrorists, we have a very safe place to keep them,” Trump said. He then bashed President Barack Obama for letting “terrible people” out.
Trump also told the Miami Herald that he doesn’t want Americans accused of terrorism to move through the normal court system and would rather put them before military commissions, such as the one in Gitmo.
“Well, I know that they want to try them in our regular court systems, and I don’t like that at all. I don’t like that at all,” he said. “I would say they could be tried there, that would be fine.”
In July, Trump said there’s no chance of closing the facility.
“This stuff is going to stop, folks,” Trump said. “And Gitmo, we’re not closing Gitmo. We’re going to fill it up. We’re not closing Gitmo. We’re not closing Gitmo.”
In an effort to fulfill his campaign promise in 2008, Obama has tried his best to shutter the facility, to no avail. He has, however, managed to empty the prison of a shockingly high number of detainees. There are now just 76 detainees left. Obama has transferred out 162 during his tenure as president, hoping to make the case to Republicans that it’s now fiscally imprudent to maintain the facility, given how few detainees are left.
That hasn’t managed to convince Republicans, especially since the Obama administration completely alienated even sympathetic members of Congress like GOP Sen. John McCain by stalling for months on presenting a closure plan. The idea of such a plan would be to transfer any remaining detainees to a secure location on U.S. soil, but this act is still illegal, and Congress doesn’t look like it’s going to budge.
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