Donald Trump says U.S. should consider death penalty for drug dealers
U.S. President Donald Trump visited Western Pennsylvania on Saturday night to stump for state Rep. Rick Saccone ahead of a special election on Tuesday.
The race between Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb is unexpectedly close in an area Trump easily won in 2016.
In a wide-ranging 75-minute speech in front of a large crowd in Moon Township, the president not only pushed for the local candidate, but also spoke to a wide-ranging number of topics, including drugs in the U.S.
Trump said he spoke with leaders in Asia about how they handled the drug problem.
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He said Chinese leader Xi Jinping told him the country has no problems with drugs because of executions.
Trump also said he spoke with Singaporean leaders about the country’s “zero tolerance policy” toward drug dealers.
“What does that mean?” Trump said. “That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty.”
He continued: “I think it’s a discussion we have to start thinking about. I don’t know if we’re ready — I don’t know if this country’s ready for it.”
Trump went on to suggest “a drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people in the course of his or her life.”
“And you wonder why we have a problem,” Trump said. “That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”
Trump first floated the idea while speaking at a conference in early March as a way to deal with the U.S. opioid crisis.
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“If you shoot one person, you get life in prison,” Trump said, The Washington Post reported. “These people kill 1,000, 2,000 people, and nothing happens to them.”
The Post reported Friday that the Trump Administration was considering allowing prosecutors to seek the death penalty in drug cases.
Last April, Trump also praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” during a phone call.
Thousands of people have been killed in the Phillipines since Duterte took office in May 2016.
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” The New York Times quoted Trump as saying, based on the transcript of the April 29 call.
“Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”
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