Trump doubles down on executing drug dealers

  • President Donald Trump in a speech on Saturday called for executing drug dealers, praising other countries that adopt the practice.
  • Trump said he recently spoke with leaders in China and Singapore, who told him they'd eliminated their drug problems by giving dealers the death penalty.
  • It's not the first time Trump has raised the issue — he mentioned it earlier this month in a White House summit on opioid addiction.

President Donald Trump on Saturday repeated his call to give drug dealers the death penalty in an effort to solve the opioid crisis.

Trump gave a speech in Pennsylvania, stumping for GOP special election candidate Rick Saccone, but spent much of the time railing against various Democrats, members of the media, and countries the US trades with.

But late in the speech, Trump grew impassioned when he began discussing the opioid epidemic and said he'd recently asked leaders in China and Singapore about their problems with drugs and addiction.

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Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania
U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to speak in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Supporters wave signs as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump points at supporters after speaking in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump claps after speaking in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Make America Great Again Rally on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. President Trump travelled to Pennsylvania to speak at a ' Make America Great Again ' rally on behalf of Republican candidate Rick Saccone. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MOON TOWNSHIP, PA - MARCH 10: President Donald J. Trump speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. The president made a visit in a bid to gain support for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone who is running for 18th Congressional District in a seat vacated by Tim Murphy. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Make America Great Again Rally on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump greets supporters at the Make America Great Again Rally on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone speaks during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
MOON TOWNSHIP, PA - MARCH 10: President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. The president made a visit in a bid to gain support for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone who is running for 18th Congressional District in a seat vacated by Tim Murphy. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
MOON TOWNSHIP, PA - MARCH 10: President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10, 2018 in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. The president made a visit in a bid to gain support for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone who is running for 18th Congressional District in a seat vacated by Tim Murphy. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
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He said both countries had eliminated the problem by imposing the death penalty on dealers, though he noted that he wasn't certain about American public opinion on the policy.

He added that he'd asked Singaporean leaders about their "zero tolerance policy" toward drug dealers.

"What does that mean?" Trump said. "'That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty.'"

He continued: "I think it's a discussion we have to start thinking about. I don't know if we're ready — I don't know if this country's ready for it."

He also said he knew of a number of "blue-ribbon committees" in which people endlessly discuss the opioid epidemic but fail to solve it.

"These people are killing our kids and they're killing our families, and we have to do something," he said. "We can't just keep setting up blue-ribbon committees with your wife and your wife and your husband, and they meet and they have a meal and they talk, talk talk talk, two hours later, then they write a report."

It's not the first time Trump has floated the idea. He brought it up earlier in March during a White House summit on opioid addiction, arguing that other countries had rid themselves of their drug problems by imposing tough penalties.

"If you shoot one person, you get life in prison," Trump said, The Washington Post reported. "These people kill 1,000, 2,000 people, and nothing happens to them."

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