One of President Donald Trump’s most appealing attributes is the striking contrast he offers to the failed progressive polices ushered in under his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
Nowhere is that contrast more apparent than when it comes to drug dealers.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering making convicted drug dealers eligible for the death penalty, The Washington Post reported Friday — “according to people with knowledge of the discussions.”
Obama made it a top priority to undo what his administration considered to be harsh sentences against “nonviolent drug offenders,” commuting the sentences of over one thousand people in prison for drugs, according to Quartz Media.
BREAKING: @POTUS has commuted over 1,000 sentences during his presidency: https://t.co/ALTYYOSlmc pic.twitter.com/jmQjnWz261
— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) November 22, 2016
The Post noted that Trump suggested last week that executing drug dealers could help combat the epidemic of opioid addiction, promising to roll out unspecified “strong” policies in the near future.
“Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than we do,” the president said during last week’s White House summit on opioids.
Singapore comes to mind, as the newspaper reminded readers.
However, as The Post reported, federal law limits the options available:
Federal law currently allows for the death penalty to be applied in four types of drug-related cases, according to the Death Penalty Information Center: murder committed during a drug-related drive-by shooting, murder committed with the use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, murder related to drug trafficking and the death of a law enforcement officer that relates to drugs.
The White House is reportedly looking at making the trafficking of large quantities of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl a capital crime because the drug can be fatal in small amounts, according to the paper.
But a tougher stance against drug crimes is nothing new for the Trump White House.
The New York Times reported last year on a “drastic shift in criminal justice policy” under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying the embattled attorney general “ordered federal prosecutors to pursue the toughest possible charges and sentences against crime suspects […], reversing Obama administration efforts to ease penalties for some nonviolent drug violations.”
Sessions said prosecutors “deserve to be un-handcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington.”
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