Trump, leaving Japan, attacks Biden over ‘Three Strikes’ crime law
President Trump wrapped up his trip to Japan by continuing to attack former Vice President Joe Biden for supporting the infamous 1994 “Three Strikes” crime bill that mandated life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes.
The law has come under criticism for its disproportionate impact on African-Americans and is a prime target of the criminal justice reform movement.
“Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing,” Trump tweeted. “That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!”
The president added: “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you. I, on the other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had tremendous support, & helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!”
As president, Trump signed into the law a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, called the First Step Act, that reduced mandatory minimum prison sentences. The president drew bipartisan praise for his support of the legislation, which passed in December.
But Trump wasn’t always a champion of reforming prison laws to help African Americans.
In 1989, after black and Latino teenagers known as the Central Park Five were accused of the brutal rape and assault of a female jogger in New York City, Trump took out full-page ads in four New York City newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty.
Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after DNA evidence and the confession of a convicted rapist and murderer exonerated them.
As late as 2016, Trump said he remained convinced of their guilt.
And as president, Trump has called for the death penalty for nonviolent criminals, such as drug dealers.
Last year, while unveiling a plan to combat the opioid epidemic, Trump ordered the Justice Department to pursue the death penalty for drug traffickers.
“[They] kill so many thousands of our citizens every year,” Trump said. “That’s why my Department of Justice will be seeking so many tougher penalties than we’ve ever had, and we’ll be focusing on the penalties that I talked about previously for big pushers, the ones that are killing so many people, and that penalty is going to be the death penalty.”
“Other countries don’t play games,” he added. “But the ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty.”
During his weekend trip to Japan, Trump stirred controversy by praising Kim Jong Un, downplaying North Korea’s missile tests, saying they don’t bother him “personally,” and said Kim was probably right in describing Joe Biden as a “low I.Q. individual.”
Kim’s assessment of Biden was mild compared to his description of Trump in 2017 as a “mentally deranged dotard.”
Trump’s simultaneous praise for the North Korean leader and attack on the former vice president did not sit well with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who spent the Memorial Day weekend campaigning in early-voting states.
“I think Kim Jong Un is a murderous dictator and Vice President Biden served his country honorably,” said South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“We don’t need to be praising Kim Jong Un or other authoritarian leaders all over the world who Trump is making good friends with,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Trump’s comments show “he care about Donald Trump first, last and in between, and not protecting the interests of the United States of America.”
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