Senator on NYC attack: Some people are "plain damn evil"

After a terror attack in New York City left eight people dead Tuesday, Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said some people are "plain damn evil," and there isn't always a legislative solution.

Police and witnesses say a man deliberately drove a truck onto a busy bike path close to the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, hitting people, before emerging from the vehicle and brandishing imitation firearms. Law enforcement sources have identified the suspect in the attack as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old man who has known addresses in both New Jersey and Florida. Investigators believe Saipov, who arrived in the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010, was acting as a "lone wolf."

"I don't know how you stop something like that," Kennedy said, speaking to reporters after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Russian influence in the 2016 election. "You can't, you can't assign a police officer to every American, to walk around with them. Even if you did, you couldn't guarantee they would be safe. I'm not sure that there's a legislative solution. I mean, there are some problems government can't solve. We live in a dangerous world."

"They're just a lot of people in the world who are bad," Kennedy continued. "I wish that weren't the case. They're not sick. They're not confused. They're not mixed up. They're just plain damn bad."

"I mean to go kill five people or more, to run over them in cold blood," he added. "Don't tell me they're sick, or they're momma didn't love them enough, or their daddy didn't spend enough time with them. Or they're mixed up. They're plain damn evil. And I wish that weren't part of our world, but it is."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told reporters he doesn't want to "oversell" what government can do to stop such attacks.

"At the end of the day if somebody's committed to dying, and willing to take some other people with them, that's just hard to stop," Graham said, adding that intelligence gathering is key but cannot guarantee safety.

President Trump's initial response to the attack was a tweet in which he called the suspect


  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.