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MSNBC contributor angry that Trump didn't want death penalty for Stephen Paddock — who's dead

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Eli Stokols, an MSNBC and Wall Street Journal contributor, aired frustrations on MSNBC Thursday night that President Donald Trump didn't call for the death penalty against Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock.

What led up to Stokols' comments?

Stokols was discussing Trump's call for the death penalty against New York City terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov, who reportedly mowed through a crowded bike path and crashed into a school bus. Eight people died in the attack, and at least 11 more were injured.

"The unifying thread is sort of the broad politics of Donald Trump, the ethno-centric nationalism," Stokols told MSNBC host Nicole Wallace. "He did not react this way when a white person shot dozens of people in Las Vegas ... We need to give this guy the death penalty."

Wallace, for her part, didn't mention the fact that Paddock is already dead, and has been since the night of the October 1 shooting, when he reportedly took his own life after killing nearly 60 and injuring several hundred more.

What did Trump specifically say about the New York City suspect, anyway?

Trump on Tuesday addressed the New York City attack on Twitter, and condemned the suspect — who reportedly wanted to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room and who "wanted to kill as many people as he could."

"NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room," Trump wrote. "He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!"

Did Stokols clarify his comments?

Stokols, in a statement to Fox News, said:

"I am aware the Vegas shooter is already dead; and I did not mean to sound critical of President Trump for failing to call for the death penalty in that case. I understand how ridiculous that sounds. I was making a broader point about the president’s responses to Las Vegas, where he did not push for a policy change, and Charlottesville, where he did not call for the death penalty after a driver crashed into a crowd, in comparison to his more emotionally charged rhetoric following the terrorist attack this week — calling to end the visa lottery, labeling the driver an ‘animal’ and urging for the death penalty. As I acknowledged Thursday night, I did not distinguish clearly enough between the different circumstances in my on-air remarks, which I regret."

 

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