New report claims Trump would “love to have a law” that calls for the death penalty for drug dealers.
News website Axios reported late Sunday that Trump considers drug dealers to be worse than serial killers and would love the U.S. to pass laws making capital punishment mandatory for drug traffickers.
In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for drug trafficking offenses. And President Trump loves it. He’s been telling friends for months that the country’s policy to execute drug traffickers is the reason its drug consumption rates are so low.
“He says that a lot,” said a source who’s spoken to Trump at length about the subject. “He says, ‘When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem [the prime minister replies,] ‘No. Death penalty’.”
A senior administration official told Axios that Trump “often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.'”
Continuing, Axios reported that Trump doesn’t just joke about it, they talked to five sources who say Trump often talks passionately about how drug dealers are worse than serial killers and should get the death penalty.
Going a step further, they claim that Trump says that lenient sentences and showing compassion won’t work, that the most effective method is to make dealers fear for their lives and to teach school children that if they deal drugs – they will perish.
CNBC News reported that:
While he admits that such a law would be impossible to pass, the head of state may support legislation that requires a five-year minimum sentence for dealers selling as little as two grams of fentanyl.
Trump’s comments mirror those of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The controversial leader gave police the authority to execute drug peddlers — Duterte has even admitted to personally killing criminal suspects — but the matter has morphed into a human rights situation amid widespread reports of extrajudicial killings.
According to Axios:
Kellyanne Conway, who leads the White House’s anti-drug efforts, argues Trump’s position is more nuanced, saying the president is talking about high-volume dealers who are killing thousands of people. The point he’s making, she says, is that some states execute criminals for killing one person but a dealer who brings a tiny quantity of fentanyl into a community can cause mass death in just one weekend, often with impunity.
CNN quoted Conway as saying: “There is an appetite among many law enforcement, health professionals and grieving families that we must toughen up our criminal and sentencing statutes to match the new reality of drugs like fentanyl, which are so lethal in such small doses.”
New York Magazine reported that Trump may have teased the idea while signing new drug legislation earlier this year.
While signing a bill that aims to combat the opioid crisis last month, President Trump hinted that he’d come up with the solution to the complex problem, but couldn’t talk about it.
“There is an answer. I think I actually know the answer, but I’m not sure the country is ready for it yet,” Trump said. “Does anybody know what I mean? I think so.”
Last November, Trump received international criticism for heaping praise on the Philippines’ Duterte while ignoring his human rights violations.
Trump met with Duterte in Manila for the summit of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, hosted by the Philippines last year. The Los Angeles Times reported that:
“We’ve had a great relationship,” Trump said as he and Duterte briefly met with reporters…. Trump, in his later address at the summit, praised Duterte in an aside: “Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN chair at this critical moment in time, and in the association’s history.”
Continuing, the Los Angeles Times reported that Philippine government spokesperson Harry Roque stated that human rights violations was not discussed during Trump’s meeting with Duterte.
“No, that issue was not raised,” Roque said. “However, the president [Duterte] explained at length his war on drugs. President Trump seemed to be appreciative.”
“From the body language of the U.S. president, he seemed to be in agreement,” Roque added.
Continuing, the Los Angeles Times reported that:
A joint statement of the two presidents that was released later by the White House included language nodding to human rights: “The two sides underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programs to promote the welfare of all sectors, including the most vulnerable groups.”
That statement also committed the Philippines, where death squads have acted with impunity, and the United States to share “best practices” on preventing illegal drugs, enforcement and “transparency in investigations.”