President Donald Trump says his administration will be rolling out a “very, very strong” policy on illegal drugs, including harsh penalties for drug distributors.
Trump has not been subtle about where he stands on the battlefield between law enforcement and the growing opioid epidemic. He has reportedly praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s response to the drug crisis where drug dealers are given the death penalty.
“[They] don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them,” Trump allegedly said in White House conversations, according to Axios’ Jonathan Swan.
At a March 10 rally for Pennsylvania Republican candidate Rick Saccone, Trump said those places “have [a] zero tolerance policy.”
“If they catch a drug dealer, it is then a death penalty,” Trump said.
The White House has refused to comment further thus far, stating:
For the first time since the campaign, the President and First Lady will be traveling to New Hampshire on Monday to further enforce the administration’s commitment to combatting the opioid crisis. We don’t comment on alleged drafts of leaked documents.
Trump, though, has signaled numerous times his support for the harsh prosecution of drug dealers, saying:
“If somebody goes and shoots somebody, or kills somebody, they go away for life and they can even get the death penalty, right?…A drug dealer will kill 2, 3, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life. Thousands of people are killed or their lives are destroyed, their families are destroyed. So you can kill thousands of people and go to jail for 30 days.”