- President Donald Trump has privately expressed a desire for all drug dealers in the US to be executed, according to the news website Axios.
- Trump also reportedly commented favorably on the drug policies of Singapore and the Philippines, two countries where drug dealers are executed.
- Kellyanne Conway said Trump wanted to focus on high-volume dealers.
President Donald Trump has told several associates of a desire to have every drug dealer in the United States executed, according to a report from the news website Axios on Sunday.
The report, which cited five sources it said had talked to Trump about the subject, said the president believed a softer approach to drug reform would never work and seemed to admire the drug policy of Singapore, where drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence.
One senior administration official told Axios that 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,'” the official said.
Human-rights advocates have admonished Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte for sanctioning a violent drug war that has resulted in the extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug users and dealers. Trump was criticized for failing to comment on the killings when the two met in November, and he has praised Duterte for doing what he called “an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Philippines.
Trump has privately acknowledged that it would be near impossible to pass a law requiring a mandatory death sentence for drug dealers in the US, according to the Axios report. But the sources said he frequently compared drug dealers to serial killers and suggested he wanted drug dealers in America to fear for their lives.
Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, responded to the report, saying the president was focusing only on high-volume drug dealers, especially those trafficking the opioid fentanyl.
“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,” she said, according to Axios.