Trump praises countries that execute drug lords

Trump praises countries that execute drug lords
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP lawmakers preparing to vote on bill allowing migrant children to be detained longer than 20 days: report Wasserman Schultz: Infants separated from their parents are in Florida immigrant shelters Ex-White House ethics chief: Sarah Sanders tweet violates ethics laws MORE praised countries with "zero-tolerance" policies on drug dealing, saying Saturday that countries that execute drug dealers are able to better manage drug epidemics.

During a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump mentioned China and other Asian countries as models for controlling drug epidemics and punishing dealers, adding that he questioned Asian leaders about drug policy during his trip abroad last year.

"When I was in China and other places, by the way, I said, 'Mr. President, do you have a drug problem?' 'No, no, no, we do not,' " Trump said.

"Big country. 1.4 billion people, right? Not much of a drug problem," he added. "I said what do you attribute that to? 'Well, the death penalty.' Hey, if you are a drug dealer and you know you are going to get caught and you know that you are going to kill people," the president continued. "You're killing our kids."

Trump went on to mention how police in Singapore don't "play games" when confronted with a drug dealer, again supplying the other side of the conversation for his audience. 

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"But if you go to Singapore, I said, 'Mr. President, what happens with your drugs?' 'We don't have a problem. We have a zero tolerance. We have a different type of people.' "

"They don't play games. I said, 'how are you doing on drugs?' 'No problem.' I said 'what do you mean no problem?' 'We have a zero tolerance policy.' What does that mean? 'That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,' " Trump said to applause.

Trump went on to say that drug dealers should be treated more harshly because of the scale of misery and death that traffickers and smugglers can be linked to.

"They shoot one person, kill some person, knife one person, the person dies, they get maybe the death penalty or maybe life in prison, no parole, right? OK? A drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life," Trump said.

"You can kill thousands of people and go to jail for 30 days," he added.

"They catch a drug dealer. They don't even put him in jail. Think of it. You kill one person, you get the death penalty in many states or you get life in prison. Think of it. You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you're smuggling them in and you're making a lot of money and people are dying and they don't even put you in jail. They don't do anything."

Trump has made similar remarks in recent weeks as his White House struggles to respond to America's growing opioid abuse epidemic, which researchers say is still getting worse and kills thousands of Americans every year.

"Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty," Trump said while speaking at a White House summit on opioid abuse earlier this month.

"The answer is you have to have strength, and you have to have toughness," he added. 

Trump has frequently tied drug abuse to immigration, and has used it to argue for his proposed border wall with Mexico.