WASHINGTON ― President Trump on Wednesday said he planned to end a diversity lottery program that he said the Uzbek immigrant suspected of killing eight people in New York City used to get into the United States.
“Today we mourn the horrifying terrorist attack in New York City, just blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center,” Trump said during a meeting with his cabinet at the White House.
“I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I‘m going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program,” he said.
Sayfullo Saipov, 29, an Uzbek immigrant suspected of killing eight people in New York City by crashing a truck through a crowd on a bike path followed online plans from ISIS and left a note saying the militant group would “endure forever,” police said.
Police said they had interviewed Saipov, who is in hospital after an officer shot him, ending the riverfront rampage. They said he appeared to have been planning the attack for weeks and that investigators recovered notes and knives at the scene.
“The gist of the note was that the Islamic State would endure forever,” New York Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller told a news conference. “He appears to have followed almost exactly the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels to its followers.”
Trump also said he would be open to transferring Saipov to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where other suspects including alleged Sept. 11 plotters are held.
“Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that,” Trump told reporters. “We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said that Saipov had been radicalized while living in the United States.