Former President Donald J. Trump’s team is refuting Rolling Stone‘s report that he wants a video campaign to hype a resurgence of firing squads and group executions for federal death penalty sentences if he is elected president, calling the claim “ridiculous and fake news.”
Citing three anonymous sources “familiar with the situation,” Rolling Stone magazine’s Asawin Suebsang and Patrick Reis reported:
Specifically, Trump has talked about bringing back death by firing squad, by hanging, and, according to two of the sources, possibly even by guillotine. He has also, sources say, discussed group executions. Trump has floated these ideas while discussing planned campaign rhetoric and policy desires, as well as his disdain for President Biden’s approach to crime.
In at least one instance late last year, according to the third source, who has direct knowledge of the matter, Trump privately mused about the possibility of creating a flashy, government-backed video-ad campaign that would accompany a federal revival of these execution methods. In Trump’s vision, these videos would include footage from these new executions, if not from the exact moments of death.
In a statement to Breitbart News, which was also provided to the magazine, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign categorized the idea of a video campaign as “ridiculous and fake news.”
“More ridiculous and fake news from idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about,” the spokesperson stated. “Either these people are fabricating lies out of thin air, or Rolling Stone is allowing themselves to be duped by these morons.”
The spokesperson also pointed to Trump’s campaign announcement speech, reaffirming his stance on the death penalty for drug dealers. The spokesperson said:
As President Trump said in his announcement speech, ‘Every drug dealer during his or her life, on average, will kill 500 people with the drugs they sell, not to mention the destruction of families. We’re going to be asking everyone who sells drugs, gets caught selling drugs, to receive the death penalty for their pain.’
Trump suggested the death penalty for drug dealers and traffickers as early as last summer, including at a Save America rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, as Breitbart News reported:
So this is a little controversial. And I will either get a standing ovation – and I don’t care about the ovation, I care about the country – or people are going to walk out of the room for what I’m about to say. But it’s time finally to say it. If you look at countries all throughout the world…The only ones that don’t have a drug problem are those that institute the death penalty for drug dealers. They’re the only ones, they don’t have any problem.
Weeks later, at the America First Policy Insitute summit in late July, Trump unveiled 42 proposals, including a plan to crack down on drug “dealers, traffickers, and narco-terrorists.” The plan emphasized that traffickers should “receive the death penalty.”