But he was delayed by a last-minute legal question from his lawyers, during which he remained tied to the chair for four hours while awaiting his fate.
The 47-year-old white supremacist was finally declared dead at 8:07 a.m.
A similar fate now awaits convicts Wesley Purkey and Dustin Honken.
Lee, one-eyed, was convicted of killing a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl, using trash bags and duct tape to suffocate the victims. He said the courts had ignored DNA evidence proving his innocence.
His lawyer Ruth Friedman said in a statement, “We hope that when we wake up, the country will be as indignant as we are. ”
Trump’s only annoyance was probably that the first federal execution in almost 20 years had taken so long.
When four black boys and one Latin boy, aged 14 to 16, were tried in 1989 for raping a white woman in Central Park, Trump spent $ 85,000 to run a full-page ad in four New York newspapers calling to their execution.
After DNA evidence later cleared the five, Trump never retracted his statement or apologized.
In the years before his election, he called for the death penalty for several high-profile criminals.
He considered the simple execution too human, recounting an American television program in 2010: “Now they inject lightly so as not to hurt when the needle enters, to put them to sleep slowly. These people must be treated very, very severely. ”
Once he took office, Trump pushed to reinstate the federal death penalty.
Dr. Alice Storey, a law professor at the University of Birmingham City who studied the death penalty in the United States, believes that the timing of the move is a campaign ploy before the presidential elections in November.
She says, “Trump may well be watching the election and want to send a message to his supporters. If Trump wins a second term, I think we will most likely witness many more federal executions. ”
In March, Colorado became the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty.
The reinstatement of the federal death penalty allows Trump to continue executing people, even in the states that now ban it.
Dr. Storey said, “Since Trump has replaced two judges and now has five Conservative Supreme Court appeals, the death penalty appeals will likely be dismissed. Federal crimes include murders where the perpetrator has acted in more than one state, but also crimes such as treason and drug trafficking.
“It is entirely possible that Trump can influence who will be put to death.” Meanwhile, the rush to evacuate more cells from death row continues.
Purkey, who was convicted of a horrific kidnapping and murder in 2003, was due to be executed last night but received a last-minute injunction.
Honken, convicted of killing five people in 2004, is expected to die on Friday.
His team is asking for a reprieve. But with Trump on the campaign trail, few believe they – and dozens more – will long escape death