Conservative plan calls for Trump to kill everyone on federal death row in second term

Trump oversaw historic execution spree in office during first term

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 10 May 2024 01:51 BST
Why the death penalty isn't working for America

A conservative plan for Donald Trump’s potential second term calls for the swift execution of everyone on federal death row, continuing the historic federal execution spree that took place during the Trump administration.

Buried in a 2023 plan from the Heritage Foundation, dubbed Project 2025, former Trump Department of Justice official Gene Hamilton urges a second-term Trump to “do everything possible” to execute the remaining 40 people on federal death row, arguing the White House should push for these killings “until Congress says otherwise through legislation.”

The plan for such a step is necessary because current crime data “makes deterrence vital.” (Studies consistently show there is no relationship between the death penalty and deterring violent crime.)

If Mr Trump implemented such a plan, it would continue his legacy from his first term in office, where he executed 13 people in his final six months, the largest federal execution spree since the 1800s, ending a de facto federal moratorium on capital punishment that had lasted two decades.

Advocates warned against embracing such a policy.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump has appeared sympathetic about expanding the death penalty.

Despite his much-touted efforts at criminal justice reform, Mr Trump has called for the death penalty to be applied to drug crimes, including those who’ve seen their sentences reduced under other Trump administration policies like the First Step Act.

He’s also suggested executing human traffickers caught at the US-Mexico border.

“I will urge Congress to ensure that anyone caught trafficking children across our border receives the death penalty immediately,” he announced last summer.

Privately, in 2020, Mr Trump reportedly suggested executing the individuals who leaked an embarrassing story about him sheltering in a secure bunker during the 2020 George Floyd protests in Washington.

The former president has suggested his second term will see him embracing even more unprecedented right-wing policies than his first.

Mr Trump has promised the mass deportation of millions of migrants and has suggested sending American special forces into Mexico to assassinate the heads of drug cartels.

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