Drug dealers kill people, destroy families and might deserve the death penalty or life in prison for their crimes, President Trump says.
Trump, speaking at a rally Saturday in Pennsylvania for congressional candidate Rick Saccone, said he got the idea from the leaders of China and Singapore. The U.S. criminal justice system, Trump said, is too soft on drugs.
“You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail,” Trump said. “That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”
Trump said he recently asked the president of Singapore if that country has a drug problem.
“He said ‘We have a zero tolerance policy. That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,'” Trump said.
Trump said he wasn’t sure whether the nation would be accepting of such a harsh penalty. But he said drug dealers destroy families.
“We can’t just keep setting up blue ribbon committees” that do nothing but “talk, talk, talk,” Trump said.
Trump has floated the idea before. Less than two weeks ago, Trump suggested “very strong” penalties to help address the nation’s growing problem with opioid addiction.
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty,” Trump said. “And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”
Last May, Trump congratulated Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte for a “great job” in his crackdown on drugs. Duterte has boasted about personally shooting and killing at least three crime suspects. Human rights groups and the United Nations have condemned Duterte’s vigilante-style campaign that has left thousands of suspected drug dealers and users dead.
Trump acknowledged Saturday that his idea might have dissenters.
“Probably you’ll have some people who say ‘Oh, that’s not nice,” Trump said. “But we have to do something.”