Media Push Discredited Myth That Trump Urged Execution of Innocent Teens

February 15th, 2018 1:41 PM

After President Donald Trump last week called for "due process" for former White House aide Rob Porter after accusations that he abused both his ex-wives, the dominant liberal media responded by again resurrecting discredited claims that Trump lobbied for the execution of the Central Park Five who were accused of raping a jogger in 1989.

In fact, according to a transcript recently posted in Nexis, Trump argued against executing juveniles and pushed instead for longer prison sentences as he appeared on CNN's Larry King Live in May 1989 and responded to questions about his ad calling for New York to pass a new death penalty law for murder cases.

Although some quotes and a few video clips from the appearance were posted on CNN's website in October 2016, it was not until just recently that a complete transcript of the episode was added to the Nexis database. Trump not only indicated that he was not "prejudging" the case -- which contradicts many of the recent media suggestions primarily on CNN and MSNBC that he did not believe in "due process" for the accused teens -- but he even stated that he was only advocating the death penalty for criminals who were "at a certain age," and pushed for longer prison terms for juveniles.

In order to comprehend the transcript, it is important to be aware that in May 1989 Trump had also spoken out on another rape case in which a 38-year-old immigrant from Jamaica was raped and then seriously injured after being thrown from a four-story building by the assailants. After the case was brought to his attention, Trump visited her in the hospital and offered to pay her medical bills.

After King brought up the death penalty ad that Trump ran in several New York newspapers on May 1 of that year, Trump began by pushing for a restoration of the death penalty and other tougher sentencing options, and soon brought up the case of the Jamaican rape victim as he complained about a reporter who suggested he should feel "compassion" for the attackers. As the two went back and forth, he eventually indicated that he only supported the death penalty for murder cases if the assailants were old enough.

Also of note, regarding the media's tendency to portray the Central Park Five as completely innocent, even the documentary by liberal film maker Ken Burns which was devoted to defending them admitted that they were guilty of committing other crimes the same night in other parts of Central Park -- which could have been their "alibi" as to why they could not have participated in the attack they were being tried for. Narrating parts of the film, New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer recalled at one hour and 17 minutes into the film:

The lawyers in the case had another defense, which is, they had alibis. They were not where the jogger was when she was attacked. Why? They were beating up other people. That alibi defense was not offered.

The week after the violence, on the April 24 World News Tonight, ABC's John McKenzie reported that at least nine people were attacked that night by a group of dozens of teens:

One night last week in this secluded area of the park, roaming gangs of teenagers -- more than 30 in all -- randomly attacked at least nine people. They began shortly before 9:00, harassing one man walking through the park. Minutes later, they knock another man to the ground.

Breaking into smaller groups, they beat a 52-year-old man who was jogging, threw rocks at a couple riding a bike, beat another jogger with a metal pipe. Then 12 of the teenagers attack at 28-year-old woman, hitting her with fists and rocks. Four of them rape her and leave here there unconscious.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, May 17, 1989 Larry King Live on CNN:

DONALD TRUMP: The ads are basically a very strong and vocal -- they are saying, "Bring back law and order to our cities."  And I'm not just referring to New York -- I'm referring to everything.

The most disappointing aspect of it is that well 95 percent of the people agree with me, probably 40 percent of the columnists agree. I mean, I've had newspaper people -- in fact, I had some woman the other day stick a microphone in my face -- one of the major networks -- "But don't you feel compassion for these young men" that raped and beat and mugged and everything else this wonderful woman. I had a case the other day -- I went to a hospital in Brooklyn. A woman was raped, mugged, and thrown off a four-story building, okay?

And a reporter asked me whether or not I had any compassion or feeling for the people that did it. Do I have hatred for them? And I said, "Look, this woman was raped, mugged and thrown off a building." Thrown off a building on top of everything else. She's virtually --  I mean, she's got some major problems, to put it mildly.

I said, "Of course I hate these people." And let's all hate these people because maybe hate is what we need if we're going to get something done. I mean, it's incredible when a reporter asks me whether or not I have compassion for the people that did this crime. I have absolutely no compassion.

LARRY KING: Obviously. How about if we were to ask it this way? We don't know who did that crime, and the court is going to decide who did that crime. Were you prejudging those arrested in that?

TRUMP: No, I'm not prejudging at all. I'm not in this particular case. I'm saying if they're found guilty, if the woman died, which she hopefully will not be dying, but if the woman died, I think they should be executed. I think they -- you should have the death penalty. I think most people agree with me on that.

KING: Was the head careful to say "if" because they could have been a (INAUDIBLE) someone wrong can be arrested?

TRUMP: You can drive anything. I mean, it's a fairly long ad -- it was fairly detailed and all. And you can take any interpretation with some people said, "Does this mean for minors?" They weren't sure because the ad didn't spell it out. It doesn't mean for minors, but they said, "But does he include minors?" Of course some of these minors are, you know, 15, 16 years old. They're 6'1" -- they weigh 240 pounds.

KING: Were you saying that the perpetrator of that act should die? Is that what you're saying? The perpetrator of that act.

TRUMP: The perpetrator if the woman died --

KING: If the woman dies.

TRUMP: -- and the perpetrator should die. There's no question about it if they're at a certain age. If they're minors, they should be treated very strongly. Now, the problem is, so many crimes today are being committed by 15- and 16- and 17-year-old kids, and they go away for six months, and they go away for a year to a reform school, and then they get out, and they're out to do it again.

Something has to be done, and it has to be done quickly.. Those so-called kids have to be put in a very, very secure and solid prison system for many years.