Bernard’s death on Thursday night garnered national attention because President Donald Trump’s administration resumed the practice of federal capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse earlier this year.
Following the execution, the hashtag #AbolishTheDeathPenalty began trending on Twitter in the US, uttered by some of the most prominent left-wing leaders, including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) and firebrand Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D- NY).
“In a world of incredible violence, the state should not be involved in premeditated murder,” tweeted Sanders. “Brandon Bernard should be alive today,” wrote the account of the leftist Gravel Institute.
Brandon Bernard should be alive today. We must end all federal executions and abolish the death penalty. In a world of incredible violence, the state should not be involved in premeditated murder. https://t.co/TeppKF667T
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 11, 2020
Abolish the death penalty.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 11, 2020
Abolish the death penalty.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) December 11, 2020
Brandon Bernard should be alive today. Abolish the death penalty.
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) December 11, 2020
New York’s Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman pleaded with Biden to push the issue when he enters the White House next month. He and others demanded Biden put an “end to federal executions,” which reemerged under Trump – and some appeared to want Biden to abolish capital punishment altogether, which would require attempting to override a number of states’ laws on the issue.
Heartbroken and fatigued from mourning but we cannot stop raising our voices and organizing for justice.
4/5 of the remaining federal executions this year will be Black men. @JoeBiden we need an end to federal executions. We must abolish the death penalty.
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) December 11, 2020
I think Biden will abolish the federal death penalty. Unfortunately, I don’t think he can make the states give theirs up.
— GenaG (@literati26) December 11, 2020
Another reason to hate Trump and another issue we must demand of Biden and Dems: abolish the death penalty. https://t.co/Hm1pnQr0i2
— Shelly Anand (@maanandshelly) December 11, 2020
Biden needs to abolish the death penalty day one https://t.co/4MBsIA4YOh
— Tyler (@dr_mousebrain8) December 11, 2020
The top Democrat himself, however, is yet to comment on the matter.
Last month, Biden’s press secretary TJ Ducklo said that the former vice president “opposes the death penalty now and in the future.”
Biden had already promised on his campaign website to restore the pre-Trump status quo. Not only did he say he would abolish it at the federal level, he said his administration would “incentivize states to follow the government’s example.”
While Biden is apparently not a fan of the death penalty anymore, he was once a champion of it.
In a grim coincidence, one of the three people executed in November by the Trump administration was originally tried in 1994 under the Crime Bill, infamously co-authored by the current presumed president-elect.
Earlier, in 1992, Biden bragged that the legislation in the works was so tough that it did “everything but hang people for jaywalking.”
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