WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday voiced support for imposing the death penalty as punishment for convicted drug dealers as part of a speech in which he laid out a series of drastic measures to curb crime. Trump’s comments calling for a crackdown on drug dealers, which included praise for quick trials in other countries, came as part of a broader vision for harshly cracking down on crime.
“The penalties should be very, very severe. If you look at countries throughout the world, the ones that don’t have a drug problem are ones that institute a very quick trial death penalty sentence for drug dealers,” Trump said at the America First Policy Institute. “It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But you know what? That’s the ones that don’t have any problem. It doesn’t take 15 years in court. It goes quickly, and you absolutely—you execute a drug dealer, and you’ll save 500 lives.
“It’s terrible to say, but you take a look at every country in this world that doesn’t have a problem with drugs, they have a very strong death penalty for people that sell drugs,” he said. The former president painted a picture of a bleak and dystopian country, highlighting instances of civilians being attacked in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. He called for police squad cars to be parked on every corner.
Trump suggested moving encampments of homeless people out of major cities and to “large parcels of inexpensive land at the outer reaches of the city” and creating tents with medical professionals. He called for passing laws to give police more authority and strengthen qualified immunity so law enforcement does not fear repercussions and a “no-holds-barred national campaign to dismantle gangs and organized street crime in America.”
The former president called for efforts to defeat violence “and be tough and be nasty and be mean if we have to.” Trump said, “We’re living in such a different country for one primary reason: There is no longer respect for the law, and there certainly is no order. Our country is now a cesspool of crime.”
Trump’s speech came less than a week after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol held a hearing focused specifically on Trump’s inaction as his supporters stormed the complex, beating and overwhelming law enforcement in the process. It highlighted a text exchange between two former Trump campaign aides who expressed frustration that Trump did not recognize Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died during the melee.
“Also [expletive] not to have even acknowledged the death of the Capitol Police officer,” former communications director Tim Murtaugh said in the Jan. 9 exchange.
“That is enraging to me. Everything he said about supporting law enforcement is a lie,” former rapid response director Matt Wolking responded.