Donald Trump has expressed a fondness and affinity for dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and even North Korean Dear Leader (smart cookie) Kim Jong-un.
Like the aforementioned despots Trump has an aversion for the hallmarks of any thriving democracy: An independent judiciary, a robust and free press, and the concept of due process.
Trump, during a bipartisan meeting at the White House to discuss school safety and gun violence, said it might be better in some cases to allow police to confiscate guns from potentially disturbed individuals before allowing due process. “Take the gun first, go through due process second,” Trump declared. That`s the proclamation of a tin-pot dictator, and not a sentence that a United States president should ever utter.
In the same week that Trump expressed disdain for due process he also advocated the death penalty for drug dealers. At a White House summit on opioid abuse he said:
“If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These people can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them.”
According to Wikipedia more than 14,000 people have been killed since Duterte declared a war on drugs and ordered the police and military to kill drug dealers without due process. There`s a river of blood flowing in the Philippines, but drugs are as plentiful as they were before Duterte`s ill-conceived war on drugs.
Trump would be well-advised to focus on the public health component of the opioid crisis. Tough talk like demanding the death penalty for drug dealers might excite his base, but it won`t do anything to fight the opioid epidemic.
Authoritarian measures won`t solve the intractable problems like gun violence or the opioid crisis, Trump needs to remember that he`s the president of the greatest democracy in the world and not the dictator of a Third World dictatorship.
Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertpaulreyes