Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday objected to President Donald Trump’s suggestion, the previous night, that convicted drug dealers face the death penalty.
At a rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania Saturday night, Trump highlighted China and Singapore as two countries that implement the death penalty in drug trafficking cases and wondered aloud whether the United States was “ready” for something similar.
Trump reportedly praised the strongman leader of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, in a phone call in April last year for doing an “unbelievable job with the drug problem” — though that effort has been linked to thousands of extrajudicial killings. According to official readouts of a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in November, Trump did not criticize Duterte’s violent war on drug dealers and users when he had a chance.
“Now the death penalty for drug dealers, is that something that you agree with, and should we be following China’s lead when it comes to criminal justice?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Johnson in an interview Sunday.
“I would say we probably should not be following China’s lead when it comes to criminal justice,” Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, responded.
“I’m a supporter of the death penalty but only when in those types of instances where we absolutely are 100 percent certain that the person is 100 percent guilty,” he continued. “I’m not sure it would be applicable to drug offenses.”