President Donald Trump praised other countries for imposing the death penalty or life in prison for drug dealers Saturday, saying the United States should consider similar penalties.
“I think it’s a discussion we have to start thinking about. I don’t know if we’re ready — I don’t know if this country’s ready for it,” he said during a campaign rally for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone.
He said those convicted of killing just one person in shootings and stabbings at times face the death penalty or life in prison without parole. But, he said, someone can “kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you’re making a lot of money and people are dying,” and go without serious punishment.
“That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games,” Trump said. “Now, I never did polling on that — I don’t know if that’s popular, I don’t know if that’s unpopular. … But these people are killing our kids and they’re killing our families, and we have to do something. We can’t just keep setting up blue-ribbon committees with your wife and your wife and your husband, and they meet and they have a meal and they talk, talk talk talk, two hours later, then they write a report.”
At the rally, Trump also revealed what he said will be the replacement for “Make America Great Again” during a rally for a Republican congressional candidate in Pennsylvania where he lambasted several potential Democratic rivals, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Oprah Winfrey.
“Our new slogan, when we start running, in — can you believe it, two years from now — is going to be, Keep America Great, exclamation point,” Trump said at the rally for state Rep. Rick Saccone.
Trump said the candidate he most wants to run against in 2020 is Oprah Winfrey, predicting the campaign “would be a painful experience for her.”
“Oh I’d love Oprah to win, I’d love to beat Oprah. I know her weakness,” he said.
Trump also touted his role in South Korea’s hosting of the Winter Olympics, claiming credit for temporarily reducing the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
“It’s little hard to sell tickets when you think you’re going to be nuked,” he said.
His comments come days after the White House confirmed Trump will meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Who knows what’s going to happen? It could happen, it doesn’t happen,” Trump said of the meeting. “I may leave fast, or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world and for all of these countries, including, frankly, North Korea, and that’s what I hope happens.”
Saccone is locked in a tight race with Democrat Conor Lamb, in a place where the race shouldn’t be as competitive as it is: Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016. The election is set for Tuesday.
Trump and the Republican Party have gone all-in to prevent an embarrassing defeat, one that would signal the potential for larger GOP losses in the November midterm elections.
Trump endorsed Saccone in January, and outside Republican groups have spent more than $10 million on the race in support of Saccone, who’s weak fundraising numbers have seen him outraised by Lamb by nearly five-to-one in the first seven weeks of the year.
Ahead of his visit, Trump tweeted on Saturday, “Heading to Moon Township, Pennsylvania, to be with a really good person, State Representative Rick Saccone, who is running for Congress. Big & happy crowd (why not, some of the best economic numbers ever). Rick will help me a lot. Also, tough on crime & border. Loves 2nd A & VETS”
The President’s appearance also comes after a particularly active week at the White House.
On Thursday, Trump signed two tariff proclamations to erect a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff aluminum imports. The move came just days before his expected rally on Saturday in the heart of steel country.
The White House also announced this week that Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a stunning development that shocked the diplomatic and political world.
And, this week, the porn star known as Stormy Daniels sued Trump in a California court, claiming Trump never signed a hush agreement regarding an alleged sexual encounter between the two, therefore rendering the agreement void.
Trump is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m. in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh.