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By: Nate Morris, senior editor
In a bizarre, 70 minute long address in the White House rose garden, President Trump noted that he would declare a national “emergency” on the U.S./Mexico border in order to try and fulfill his campaign promise and build the wall.
During his address, Trump referenced a meeting with Chinese President Xi, saying he asked Xi, “do you (China) have a drug problem?”
“‘No, no, no… we give death penalty to people that sell drugs,'” said Trump, intentionally using broken English to mimic his alleged conversation with Xi.
Trump then (incorrectly) lamented that the US only gives drug dealers “fines” rather than the death penalty.
“If you want to get smart, you can get smart,” said Trump, “you can end the drug problem a lot faster than you think.”
“It’s a criminal penalty and the penalty is death. So that’s frankly one of the things I’m most excited about,” said Trump, referring to his continuing conversations about China’s drug enforcement policies.
Of course, the president in incorrect. China, like the United States, has an significant drug problem, especially with heroine, methamphetamine and, most recently, fentanyl. According to international data, in 2014 China had 1.2 million users of meth alone, with nearly 50,000 reported deaths and an estimated economic loss of half a trillion dollars.
The country has made no significant data public on its drug crisis in the past five year, but some estimate the number people dependent upon heroine, meth an other narcotics may be as high as 12 million, compared to the roughly 3.5 million in the United States.
This argument from Trump, to build a wall and potentially extend implementation of the death penalty in order to “save American lives” from “gangs, criminals and human traffickers” who are “invading” and “pouring across the border” is once again rooted in the president’s ignorance and, unsurprisingly, his unapologetic racism.
Likewise, it cuts against the reality that public support for capital punishment has fallen to the lowest point in American history as the outcry for substantive criminal justice reform strengthens.
Now, in order to partially fulfill his campaign promise to build the wall (Americans will be footing the bill instead of Mexico, as Trump touted throughout his campaign), Trump will be throwing the nation into legal chaos, spending government money on defending his national “emergency” as it is tied up in the courts.
Likewise, money to build the wall is being reallocated under Trump’s national “emergency” from military budgets and programs to combat drug abuse and overdose across the country.
Should Trump succeed in the courts, not only will Americans foot the bill of a wall at the expense of other critical programs, but an unprecedented power will be granted to the executive branch, possibly allowing future presidents to circumvent Congress to further their agenda by simply declaring a national “emergency”.
During his address, the president continued his assault on Black and brown people and immigrants, labeling undocumented immigration on the southern border “an invasion” and calling many of the people his administration has deported “monsters”.