By Ryan Pickrell
President Donald Trump hinted at a rally in Pittsburgh that he would be open to giving drug dealers the death penalty.
Trump pointed out that murderers get the death penalty or life imprisonment in most states but drug dealers, who may kill thousands of people, get decidedly lighter sentences. “You wonder why we have a problem,” he said. “That’s why we have a problem.”
China had an opium problem two hundred years ago, but now doesn’t have a drug problem because they have the “death penalty,” the president noted. He also pointed to Singapore, which sentences drug dealers to death. “I don’t think we should play games. These people are killing our kids. They are killing our families, and we have to do something … I’m not going to let it destroy us,” he said.
“I think it’s a discussion we have to start thinking about,” Trump said, “I don’t know if this country’s ready for it.”
The president made similar comments at an opioid summit this month at the White House.
“If you shoot one person, they give you the death penalty. These people can kill two, three thousand people and nothing happens to them,” Trump explained. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty. By the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we’re going to have to be very strong on penalties.”
His comments followed the release of an Axios report claiming that Trump often jokes privately about killing drug dealers. “You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them,” the president has reportedly said. In the Philippines, the populist President Rodrigo Duterte is waging a bloody war on drugs that has ended the lives of thousands.