Trump blasts California governor for halting executions
Brooke Singman, 03/13/2019
'Reducing crime begins with respecting law enforcement,' Trump says
President Trump on Wednesday blasted California Gov. Gavin Newsom for halting executions for the state’s 737 death row inmates.
“Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers. Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
The tweet comes hours before Newsom, a Democrat, is expected to sign an executive order that would halt all executions at San Quentin State Prison, closing a new execution chamber. The order would also withdraw lethal injection regulations. The order, though, would leave all convictions intact.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong. And as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” Newsom said in a prepared statement obtained by the Southern California News Group.
Newsom, who has been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, said that the system is a “failure” that “has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford legal representation.” He also said that many innocent people have been wrongly convicted and sometimes put to death.
But Newsom’s order will go against the wishes of California voters, who in 2016 backed a measure to speed up executions.
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys blasted Newsom for “usurping” the will of the voters and “substituting his personal preferences.”
But Newsom said that the death penalty is flawed because it is “irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error,” and expensive, costing California $5 billion since 1978.
Meanwhile, Trump has been a supporter of the death penalty. In October, Trump called for the death penalty for those who kill police officers.
"Reducing crime begins with respecting law enforcement," Trump said. “We believe that criminals who kill our police officers should immediately, with trial, but rapidly as possible, not 15 years later, 20 years later—get the death penalty."
A week later, Trump called for the death penalty of the man responsible for the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.