Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for the execution of Edward Snowden during a 2013 appearance on “Fox & Friends,” labeling the whistleblower a “traitor” for disclosing the National Security Agency’s illegal activities.
“You know, spies in the old days used to be executed,” Trump said.
Since Snowden first revealed the NSA’s widespread surveillance practices more than two years ago, the hotel tycoon has repeatedly called for both the death and imprisonment of the former intelligence contractor.
Only days after his initial comment, the reality TV host again repeated his desire to see Snowden put to death during a followup interview on Fox News.
“I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country? You know what we used to do to traitors, right?” Trump asked.
“Well, we used to kill them, Donald,” Fox host Eric Bolling responded.
Although Trump is currently facing criticism for reversing his stance on multiple issues, the real estate magnate has remained consistent in his disdain for Snowden.
Early last month during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Trump again referred to Snowden as a “total traitor,” pledging to deal with the whistleblower “harshly” as president.
“I think he’s a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly,” he said. “And if I were president, Putin would give him over.”
In 2005, Trump made similar comments after W. Mark Felt revealed himself to be “Deep Throat,” Bob Woodward’s source for the Watergate scandal, during yet another interview with Fox News.
“I think he’s disgusting. I think he’s scum,” Trump said. “I don’t care how old he is, how sick he is, I think he ought to be arrested. He was an FBI agent, essentially, and he was ratting on the president.”
Trump’s opposition to government transparency and those who disclose apparent wrongdoing raises serious questions on the candidate’s views toward civil liberties and constitutional rights.