WASHINGTON — President Trump broached the idea of instituting the death penalty for drug dealers on Thursday, but stopped short of formally proposing it.
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty,” Trump said during a White House conference on the opioid crisis. “And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we’re going to have to be very strong on penalties.”
The Philippines and Singapore are among countries that execute drug dealers, and Trump has discussed those policies in meetings with the leaders of those countries, officials said.
Critics have assailed Trump’s praise of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose self-proclaimed war on drugs has included extra-judicial killings.
In discussing the nation’s epidemic of pain killer addiction at the White House, Trump said he will be “rolling out policy” over the next three weeks, and that he has spoken with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about possibly filing lawsuits against opioid companies.
He also amplified the theme of harsh penalties for those who traffic illegally in drugs.
“You know, if you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty,” Trump said. “These people can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them.”
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