Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence told NBC News on Tuesday that the suspect captured in connection with the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey is “a naturalized American citizen and has access to our courts.”
But he would not answer whether Ahmad Khan Rahami should be treated as an enemy combatant.
“I think the investigation needs to go forward thoroughly to determine Mr. Rahami’s motivation, his connection...I think this case, however it is prosecuted, and he’s a naturalized American citizen and has access to our courts,” Pence said when asked if Rahami should be treated as an enemy combatant.
The Indiana governor’s measured response seemed at odds with what running mate Donald Trump said at a rally on Monday. Trump lamented that the suspect’s punishment “will not be what it once would have been,” saying Rahami will be given “an outstanding lawyer” and “probably even have room service.”
Rahami has been linked to the blast in Manhattan that injured 29 people and an explosion in New Jersey.
Pence also advocated for “common sense profiling” to root out potential terrorists.
“Mr. Rahami didn’t end up on a watch list or be given additional scrutiny, that, that – I don’t know why that occurred, but it smacks of the kind of political correctness and eggshells that law enforcement feels that they have to walk on in the environment we’re in today,” Pence said.