“States with a very powerful death penalty on drug dealers don’t have a drug problem.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has once again expressed support for issuing the death penalty to those involved in the illicit drug trade.
“It’s interesting,” Trump said at a White House meeting with state governors earlier this week.
“We have Singapore, they have very little drug problem. We have China, they have very little drug problem. States with a very powerful death penalty on drug dealers don’t have a drug problem,” the president said.
Trump did acknowledge, however, that the approach might not be the ideal means of control for the U.S., but did not dismiss the strategy.
“I don’t know that our country is ready for that, but if you look throughout the world, the countries with a powerful death penalty—death penalty—with a fair but quick trial, they have very little if any drug problem,” Trump mused.
It’s hardly the first time that the president has expressed admiration for such authoritarian policies. In 2017, Trump praised Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s support for the extrajudicial killings of citizens suspected of being involved in the illicit drug industry.
“Keep up the good work,” Trump told Duterte during a phone call between the two leaders. “You’re doing an amazing job.”
Duterte’s means of controlling the Filipino drug trade have been an abject failure, with Philippine National Police drug enforcement top brass Col. Romeo Caramat recently declaring that the tactics have “not worked” and that illicit drug supply “is still rampant.”
“Shock and awe definitely did not work,” Caramat told Reuters.
While Trump has not directly endorsed adopting a similar policy in the U.S., his words indicate that he could consider it.
“We have pushers and we have drug dealers that kill hundreds and hundreds of people and most of them don’t even go to jail,” he said two years ago while discussing the opioid crisis. “If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These people [who sell drugs] can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them.”
Written by Emma Spears