Trump Death Penalties


“Donald Trump Sr. at #FITN in Nashua, NH” by Michael Vadon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Ruby Sklar

In 2020 the Trump administration launched the United States back to 1896, the last year that ten or more people were executed under the death penalty. After a 17 year hiatus of federal executions Trump stated, “We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”


 The last minute executions driven by Trump disregards the level of crimes that transpired, aiming push the death penaty before Bidens inaguation, who opposes the death penalty. Last week two black men, Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois, were killed by lethal injection under federal execution. Donald J.Trump is scheduled to order executions of three more people before a transfer of power on January 20th, 2021 when president-elect Joe Biden takes office. 

In the United States the death penalty disproportionately has affected  people of color over the past decades. Currently there are 22 black(42.3%), 22 white(42.3%), 7 Latinx (13.5%), and 1 asian person(1.9%) on the list of federal death row prisoners. According to the Census Bureau, white people make up 76% of the population whereas black people are 13% of the population. Clearly, the black population is affected by executions to a greater extent than the white population. The federal death row is 43% black in comparison to black people only making up 13% of the population. Systemic racism in the United States is exemplified in the judicial and prison systems through false incarceration and corruption engrained in the system.

The surge of federal executions under the Trump administration captured the public eye in recent weeks. According to CNN, “Bernard was one of five gang members convicted in Texas of killing Stancie and Todd Bagley–who were youth ministers– in 1999.”

The execution of Brandon Brenard was protested in the media, prompted petitions, and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian used  her social media influence and wealth to try to get him taken off death row. Kim Kardashian argued that Brenard played a small role in the crime and revieved the death penalty during his trial due to inadequate legal assistance and racial dynamics. She wrote in a tweet,“A terrible case has been brought to my attention and I need your help,” along with a link to a website set up to raise awareness and prevent the execution. Kim Kasdashion asks her followers to “let President Trump know that you think Brandon’s death sentence is unjust.” Social media brought attention to the case resulting in thousands signing petitions and raising awareness about racial injustices in the federal court system. 


The death penalty a controvsesial part of the federal government criminal justice system apart of policy is promoted under the Trump administration . President-elect Joe Biden plans to eliminate the federal death penalty because “Over 160 individuals who’ve been sentenced to death in this country since 1973 have later been exonerated”. The death penalty is an  unrealibale nature of the court system which Biden aims to terminate under federal law. 


The failure of the United States judicial and prison systems is being examined and fought through public advocacy on media platforms and public figures, such as the  Innocence Project. The Innocence Projects mission is to  “free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.” Along with organizations such as the Innocence Project, it is the duty of the citizens of the United States to advocate for those who are falsely incarcerated, those under fallacious allegations, as well as those who should not be on death row.