According to a new Axios report, Trump thinks all drug dealers deserve the death penalty and frequently goes off on “passionate” speeches equating them to serial killers.
He also often praises countries with extreme anti-drug measures, like the Philippines, where President Duterte’s “drug war” has resulted in the deaths of at least 12,000 drug users and sellers, including children.
“He says that a lot,” a source told Axios. “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 official said, “He often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know the Chinese and Filipino don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.'”
Trump’s preferred solution would be to have a law that would allow the execution of all drug dealers, but he’s apparently aware that it would be nearly impossible to get such a bill passed. He also believes laws treating drug offenders with compassion are useless and that instead dealers should be made to “fear for their lives” while children should be taught that drugs will kill them.
Senior Trump official Kellyanne Conway claims that Trump’s comments only refer to big drug lords, not small-time dealers, saying, “The president makes a distinction between those that are languishing in prison for low-level drug offenses and the kingpins hauling thousands of lethal doses of fentanyl into communities, that are responsible for many casualties in a single weekend.”
Given that in 1989 Trump spent $85,000 taking out multiple full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty to be brought back so that the Central Park Five, the group of black and Latino teens who were wrongly accused of rape, could be executed, it’s hard to believe he has a nuanced take. Especially since he’s repeatedly doubled down on his position on the Central Park Five, even after they were proven innocent by DNA evidence; Trump consistently jumps to the most extreme “solutions” to problems — like nuking North Korea instead of trying diplomacy first — and hardly ever backs down.