President Donald Trump seemed to advocate the death penalty for drug dealers on Thursday during brief comments at an opioid summit at the White House.
During his unannounced appearance in the White House East Room, the President commented on “some countries” that have much stricter punishments for drug dealers. This came after a riff on the “drug dealers and drug pushers” who Trump says are “really doing damage.”
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty. The ultimate penalty. And by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we’re going to have to be very strong on penalties,” Trump said.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s follow-up questions about what exactly Trump meant.
The comments come after Axios reported earlier this week that the President has floated the idea to aides of enforcing a death penalty for drug dealers in the United States.
The President spent the majority of his remarks touting his administration’s involvement in combating the opioid crisis, something that’s been a focus of his since the campaign trail. He said Wednesday that the country needs to fight the drug epidemic with “strength and toughness.” He also said that he had spoken with his embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions about bringing lawsuits against “some of these opioid companies.”