Trump called on lawmakers to institute the 'death penalty for drug dealers' despite the fact that he pardoned people convicted of selling drugs

·3 min read
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
  • Trump spoke at a rally Saturday for the first time since the August 8 search at Mar-a-Lago.

  • Trump said he was calling on lawmakers to institute capital punishment for drug dealers.

  • But before leaving office, Trump pardoned numerous people who were convicted for selling drugs.

During a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, former President Donald Trump called for drug dealers to receive the death penalty, despite having pardoned several people convicted of selling drugs before he left office.

In his first rally appearance since the Mar-a-Lago raid on August 8, Trump criticized the FBI, the Department of Justice, and President Joe Biden, labeling him an "enemy of the state" in a lengthy speech.

"Under Democrat control the streets of our great cities are drenched in the blood of innocent victims," Trump said, adding that drug dealers were responsible for killing hundreds of people every year.

It's unclear where the numbers Trump cited came from.

"Every drug dealer is responsible and that doesn't include what they've done to families of people that haven't died, but families that are just devastated by what happened to their children and to themselves," he said.

Trump then said he was calling for drug dealers to receive capital punishment, which he claimed would "reduce drug distribution in our country on day one by 75%" and "save millions of lives."

"We would solve that problem so fast and I'm calling on Republicans and Democrats immediately to institute, to get to Washington and institute the death penalty for drug dealers. You will no longer have a problem," he said.

 

Trump used his broad clemency powers as president to grant pardons or commutations to numerous people who were convicted of selling drugs.

In October 2020, Trump granted pardons to four people who had been convicted of non-violent drug charges, including drug trafficking, conspiracy, selling, and distribution. In a statement announcing the pardons, the White House noted all of them had been model inmates who worked to improve themselves while in prison.

"In light of the decisions these individuals have made following their convictions to improve their lives and the lives of others while incarcerated, the President has determined that each is deserving of an Executive Grant of Clemency," NPR reported the White House said at the time.

During his final few days in office, Trump granted pardons and commutations to 143 people. A partial list of those granted clemency, compiled by NBC, showed many of them had been convicted for drug trafficking, conspiracy, or similar charges.

Trump also pardoned Jonathan Braun, a drug smuggler serving a 10-year prison sentence for running a large-scale marijuana ring. The White House said Braun would "seek employment to support his wife and children" but failed to mention that he had also been accused and was under investigation for violent crimes, The New York Times reported.

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