President Trump would like to get tougher on drug trafficking, according to a report.
A White House source told Axios President Trump privately speaks about the possibility of executing drug dealers, citing the perceived effectiveness of such laws in countries like Singapore and the Philippines.
“He says that a lot,” the source said. “He says, ‘When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem [the prime minister replies,] “No. Death penalty.”
According to Axios, the president has told confidants that lenient sentences and compassion-driven approaches won’t work. President Trump reportedly equates drug dealers with serial killers and believes they deserve capital punishment.
“You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem,” the source quoted the president as saying. “They just kill them.”
The unnamed official said President Trump has acknowledged that such laws would be nearly impossible to pass in the US.
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, clarified his position for Axios, saying the focus of harsher federal sentences would be on high-volume traffickers and kingpins rather than on small-time dealers.
“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,” Conway said.
She also suggested those policies would have widespread appeal throughout America.
“There is an appetite among many law enforcement, health professionals and grieving families that we must toughen up our criminal and sentencing statutes to match the new reality of drugs like fentanyl, which are so lethal in such small doses.”
President Trump has made a top priority of fighting the nation-wide opioid epidemic, which he declared a national health emergency last year.
In November, the president donated his third quarter salary to Health and Human Services for the purpose of addressing opioid addiction.