US President Donald Trump on Tuesday used a ceremony honoring slain law enforcement officers to propose that cop killers face the death penalty, burnishing his tough-on-crime political credentials.
Addressing the annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, Trump painted immigrants as violent killers and lamented “ambush” style attacks against police.
“We must end the attacks on our police and we must end them right now,” Trump said.
“We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty,” the Republican president told the audience in front of Capitol Hill. “Bring it forth.”
Much of Trump’s political platform is grounded in hard line stances on immigration, crime and punishment.
He has frequently advocated the death penalty, and on the campaign trail promised “one of the first things” he would do in office would be an executive order applying it to “anybody killing a police man, a police woman, a police officer, anybody killing a police officer.”
A year and a half into his term, he has yet to act because of considerable legal and political challenges.
Capital punishment remains largely the preserve of US states, and only in rare instances the federal government.
Trump’s proposal would require legislative change from Congress, and could not be done by executive order.