President Donald Trump has privately expressed a desire for all drug dealers in the US to be executed, according to an Axios report.
Trump also has commented favorably on the drug policies of Singapore and the Philippines, two countries where drug dealers are executed.
Kellyanne Conway argued Trump only wants to focus on high-volume dealers.
President Donald Trump reportedly has talked to several associates about his desire to have every drug dealer in the United States executed, according to an Axios report on Sunday.
The report, which cites five sources who have talked to Trump about the subject, says the president believes a softer approach to drug reform will never work, and seems 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 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 previously has praised Duterte for doing what he called “an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Philippines.
Trump has privately admitted 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 has frequently compared drug dealers to serial killers and has expressed that he wants drug dealers in America to fear for their lives.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, pushed back on the report, arguing the president is only focusing on high-volume drug dealers, and especially those who traffic 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.