NEVER knowingly undersold for a tough line on crime, president Donald Trump has raised the rhetoric on drugs to a new level with his suggestion at the weekend that drug dealers should face the death penalty.

Addressing a rally of supporters in an aircraft hangar near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, Trump admitted that he got the idea of killing drug dealers from China and Singapore.

He might want a trade war with those two countries but he is happy to borrow their ideas on drug crime. He addressed a crowd who were at the venue to support Republican Party candidate Rick Saccone who is in a close race with the Democrats’ Conor Lamb in a congressional district election that is seen an indicator of Trump’s popularity or lack of it – he won the district with a lead of more than 20 per cent in the presidential election.

Trump said the US criminal justice system is too soft on drugs and said he got the idea of the death penalty from the leaders of China and Singapore.

Claiming that drug dealers each could be responsible for the deaths of 2000 to 5000 addicts, the president said: “You kill 5000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail.

“That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”

Trump said he had asked the president of Singapore if it has a drug problem.

“He said ‘We have a zero tolerance policy. That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,’” Trump said.

He added that drug dealers destroy families and said: “We can’t just keep setting up blue ribbon committees that do nothing but talk, talk, talk.”

A fortnight ago Trump suggested “very strong” penalties to help address the growing crisis of opioid addiction across the USA.

He said: “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty. And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”

Trump did admit the death penalty idea might have its detractors: “Probably you’ll have some people who say ‘Oh, that’s not nice.’ But we have to do something.”

At least Trump might allow drug dealers a trail before killing them, unlike Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, who has boasted about personally shooting and killing at least three crime suspects – Trump said last May that Duterte was doing “a great job”.

In a wide-ranging speech Trump spoke about his forthcoming summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“Hey, who knows what’s going to happen?” Trump said. “I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world.”

He also said he believed the North Koreans would honour their commitment not to test any more missiles. Trump told the crowd: “I think they want to make peace, I think it’s time.”

Trump as usual lambasted the media but moderate Republicans were appalled at his comments on the late former president, Ronald Reagan, who is revered by most party members.

Trump said he loved Reagan’s “style, his attitude” but added that his predecessor was “not great on trade”.

Meanwhile two problems close to home refuse to go away for Trump. It has been revealed that adult film star Stormy Daniels has recorded an interview for the 60 Minutes show over claims that she was paid to keep quiet about an alleged relationship with Trump. The president was also forced to deny that he sacked his legal team over the continuing Russia inquiry.