President Donald Trump has said he won’t apologize for the comments he made in 1989 about the Central Park Five, the five black and Latino men who as teenagers were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a lady in New York City.
During a White House Question&Answer on Tuesday, he was asked by journalists about the newspaper advertisements where he called on New York State to adopt the death penalty after the attack.
‘You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city never should have settled that case — so we’ll leave it at that.’
On May 1, 1989, as the case was headed to trial, then-real estate developer Trump spent about $85,000 placing a full-page ad in four newspapers, calling for the young men accused of the crime to be executed.
“BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” the ad proclaimed in enormous capital letters. Below, in smaller text, Trump ranted, “I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them … I no longer want to understand their anger. I want them to understand our anger. I want them to be afraid.”
He made it clear that he was voicing this opinion because of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili, a woman who had been jogging in Central Park before she was raped.
He wrote in the ad, “I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them.”
The five teenagers, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison for gang-raping and nearly killing Ms. Meili. Their convictions were later vacated in 2002, the man who committed the crime confessed to it.
The city paid $41 million to the five black and Latino men in 2014 to settle their civil rights lawsuit.
Watch the interview below.