Donald Trump will announce death penalties for drug dealers on Monday.
A top administration official said on Sunday the president’s plan to combat opioid drug addiction nationwide, to be announced in New Hampshire on Monday, calls for the death penalty for drug traffickers where appropriate under current law.
New Hampshire has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, a fact Trump acknowledged last August when he said: “We have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country. They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York.
“Up in New Hampshire – I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den – [it] is coming from the southern border.”
The comment caused offence in the state, Democratic senator Maggie Hassan responding: “Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, [Trump] needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis.”
The stop in New Hampshire will be Trump’s first visit as president. He won the state’s 2016 Republican primary but narrowly lost in the general election to Hillary Clinton. Last week, retiring senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a persistent Trump critic, told New Hampshire Republicans that someone needs to stop Trump – and it could be him if no one else steps up.
In recent weeks the president, who aims to be seen as tough on crime, has been highlighting his preference for the “ultimate penalty” for drug dealers.
The president told the audience at a Pennsylvania rally this month that countries like Singapore have fewer issues with drug addiction because they harshly punish dealers. He argued that a person in the US can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting one person, but that a drug dealer who potentially kills thousands can spend little or no time in jail.
“The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness,” Trump said.