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Trump Earlier This Year: A Strong America Would Execute Bergdahl

"You know in the old days you'd execute Bergdahl."

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said earlier this year that in the "old days," when the United States was strong, it would have executed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier held in captivity by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan's Paktika province in 2009 and was held captive by a Taliban-affiliated group until his release last year as part of a prisoner swap deal involving five senior Taliban figures. He was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in March.

"You know in the old days you'd execute Bergdahl," the real estate mogul told Virginia radio host John Fredericks in April of this year. "You know, when this country was strong and powerful and meant something, you would execute Bergdahl. Now he's being protected. They said 'oh well, he had some psychological problems and you know.'"

Trump said in the radio interview that not trading for Bergdahl was "common sense," calling Bergdahl a "traitor" who he would send back to the Taliban.

"So you know, as far as I'm concerned send Bergdahl back," he added. "Drop him right in the middle of those characters and they will take care of it."

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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