Should drug dealers receive the death penalty? Donald Trump may think so.
President Trump doesn’t just joke about it. According to five sources who have spoken with Trump about the subject, “he often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty.”
Since Duterte took office in June, Philippine national police and vigilante death squads have embarked on a campaign to slaughter drug users as well as drug dealers. “Hitler massacred three million Jews [sic], now, there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said in September. Last month, he told a group of jobless Filipinos that they should “kill all the drug addicts.” Police have killed over 7,000 people, devastated poor areas of Manila and other cities, and used the drug war as a pretext to murder government officials and community leaders.
At a signing ceremony for a bill providing drug screening technology to border patrol agents, he mysteriously suggested he has a solution to drug problems in mind that he’s not sure the country is ready for yet:
“So we’re going to sign this. And it’s a step. And it feels like a very giant step, but unfortunately it’s not going to be a giant step, because no matter what you do, this is something that keeps pouring in. And we’re going to find the answer. There is an answer. I think I actually know the answer, but I’m not sure the country’s ready for it yet. Does anybody know what I mean? I think so.”
According to White House anti-drug efforts leader Kelly Anne Conway, “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.”
Although Trump previously supported state’s rights on the issue, he supports Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole memo and continues to push for a tougher stance on drugs in the country.
Trump now publicly supports Sessions’ rescission of the memo and appears to have flip-flopped on the issue. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The president believes in enforcing federal law — that’s his top priority — regardless of what the topic is, whether it’s marijuana or immigration.”