Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) blasted President Donald Trump for his administration’s decision to resume applying the death penalty at the federal level on Thursday, calling it “a sad day for the United States.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday morning that Attorney General William Barr was taking administrative steps that would allow “the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse.”
The DOJ also announced that the first five executions to be scheduled involved murderers who had killed children. First on the list of those to be executed is a white supremacist who killed an eight-year-old girl and her family:
Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.
Nevertheless, Harris argued that the death penalty was “both misguided and immoral.”
She added that the death penalty was “proven to be unequally applied,” and that “Black and Latino defendants are far more likely to be executed than their white counterparts,” while poor people were more likely to be sentenced to death than rich defendants. Harris also noted that people sentenced to death were sometimes exonerated.
“[T]he death penalty will not make our country safer,” Harris concluded.
Other Democrats who have rejected the death penalty include Joe Biden — who announced his opposition to the federal death penalty earlier this week — and Sen. Amy Kloubuchar (D-MN), who also opposed Trump’s decision.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.