Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson criticized President Donald Trump for advocating the death penalty for drug dealers Sunday, saying the U.S. should not follow China’s lead on criminal justice.
“We probably should not be following China’s lead when it comes to criminal justice,” Johnson said on CNN Sunday. “I’m a supporter of the death penalty, but only when in those type of instance where we absolutely are 100 percent certain that the person is 100 percent guilty.”
President Donald Trump said he was open to the idea of executing drug dealers Saturday in a speech, and attributed the idea to Chinese President Xi Jinping, The Hill reported. The comments came as part of Trump’s larger assertion that “toughness” is the only way to end America’s drug and opioid crisis. Trump’s Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether it could pursue death penalties for dealers.
“You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail,” Trump said. “That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”
He then referenced a conversation he had with Xi.
“He said ‘We have a zero tolerance policy. That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,'” Trump quoted.
Drug dealers are increasingly facing murder charges when their buyers overdose, but the offenses are not currently eligible for the death penalty unless it involves the death of a law enforcement officer.
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