U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested death penalty or life in prison as punishment for drug dealers in the country, noting that the crime needs to have a harsher punishment.
Trump made his comments while speaking at a rally for congressional candidate Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania Saturday. He said that he was inspired by the policies of nations like China and Singapore.
“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,” he said. “And they don’t even put you in jail. That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”
Trump admitted that he was not sure if the U.S. would accept such a harsh policy. However, he emphasized that drugs destroy families. Less than two weeks ago, he promised strong policies to tackle the growing opioid crisis, suggesting that capital punishment could be the key to solve the problem.
The president also said that he personally asked the president of Singapore if the country has a drug problem. “He said ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy. That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,'” he shared.
In May, Trump expressed approval and congratulated Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte for doing a “great job” in his crackdown on drugs in the Southeast Asian country.
Duterte’s bloody war on drugs has led to the deaths of thousands of people, including small-time users and innocent people, whom he called “collateral damage.” Human rights groups and the United Nations, on the other hand, have condemned Duterte’s campaign, which encouraged the extrajudicial murder of anyone suspected of a drug-related crime.
According to a source in the White House, Trump often jokes about killing drug dealers. “He’ll say, ‘You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them,’” said the source.