Trump calls for 'very strong' penalties for drug dealers

Trump calls for 'very strong' penalties for drug dealers
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE on Thursday called for being "very strong on penalties" for drug dealers while speaking at a White House opioid summit.

Trump called for tough action against those who are dealing opioids. While he did not mention the death penalty specifically, Axios reported recently that Trump has privately been calling for the death penalty for drug traffickers.

"Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty," Trump said Thursday. 

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

Trump also alluded to lawsuits against opioid companies, saying he has spoken with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsA better way to run the Federal Bureau of Prisons Trump admin erases key environmental enforcement tool DOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda MORE about the topic. He said he's "spoken with Jeff about bringing a lawsuit against some of these opioid companies." 

It was not clear if this statement referred to an additional action beyond the statement of interest Sessions filed this week in a major lawsuit against opioid distributors and manufacturers.