Trump Calls For China To Use Death Penalty For Fentanyl "Pushers"

By Paul Gaita 12/10/18

"If China cracks down on this 'horror drug,' using the death penalty for [fentanyl] distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump praised China for re-classifying fentanyl and making it possible to use death penalty on fentanyl pushers

President Trump said that one of the highlights of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping is that fentanyl will now be classified as a controlled substance in China, meaning that people who manufacture and distribute the drug could face the death penalty. 

"One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly fentanyl coming into the United States. It will now be considered a 'controlled substance.' This could be a game changer on what is [...] considered to be the worst and most dangerous, addictive and deadly substance of them all," Trump tweeted, according to CNN."Last year over 77,000 people died from Fentanyl. If China cracks down on this 'horror drug,' using the Death Penalty for distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!”

A release from The White House called the reclassification of fentanyl “a wonderful humanitarian gesture.”

“President Xi… has agreed to designate Fentanyl as a Controlled Substance, meaning that people selling Fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law,” the release said. 

In China, the maximum penalty is death, CNN reported. 

President Trump has in the past praised capital punishment for people who traffic and sell drugs. 

“He often jokes about killing drug dealers... He’ll say, 'You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them,’” a senior White House official said in February

Another source confirmed that. 

“[Trump] says that a lot," the source said. "He says, 'When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem [the prime minister replies,] 'No. Death penalty.'" 

While he was campaigning, Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire, a state that has been heavily affected by opioid abuse, that the death penalty should be considered. 

“If we don't get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time," he said. "And that toughness includes the death penalty."

Trump justified this position by saying dealers "will kill thousands of people during their lifetime" but won't be punished for these deaths. He said the death penalty would only be used against the "big pushers, the ones who are really killing people.”

Trump has also congratulated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his anti-drug campaign that involved killing thousands of people. 

"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem," Trump said to Duterte in a phone call in 2017. "Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that."

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.