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By Rafi Schwartz, The Week —

As Donald Trump’s second re-election bid begins to pick up steam in the new year, details about the former president’s plans for his return to the White House have begun to emerge — including a new report from Rolling Stone, which alleges Trump has begun polling his advisers on whether he should bring back firing squads, hangings, and even the guillotine should he win in 2024.

According to two sources, the former president has even begun exploring the possibility of group executions, with a third person claiming Trump has expressed interest in a government ad campaign to highlight the administration’s lethality and, per Rolling Stone‘s source, “help put the fear of God into violent criminals.” A Trump campaign spokesperson denied the former president had plans for an execution ad campaign in a statement to Rolling Stone.

Trump’s fascination with the death penalty has long been on public display, stretching back to his call to execute the “Central Park Five,” five young Black and Latino men accused of rape and assault in the late 1980s (all were later exonerated). As Rolling Stone had previously reported, Trump had ended his first term by executing more than four times as many convicted persons in his final six months in office as the federal government had killed in total over the prior half-century. He also signed an executive order in those last weeks in office that expanded the federal government’s ability to conduct hangings and firing squads as methods of execution. And during his campaign launch in November, Trump made a special point to highlight a call to execute “everyone who sells drugs [or] gets caught selling drugs” if given a second term.

This latest report has earned harsh rebukes from some, including journalist Oliver Willis, who called it the “kind of fascist s–t Republican primary voters love.” Citing a 2016 campaign event in which Trump enthusiastically lauded the disproven myth that U.S. General John Pershing summarily executed dozens of Muslim prisoners in the Philippines with ammunition “dipped […] in pig’s blood,” Semafor Washington Bureau Chief Benjy Sarlin wryly noted that now Trump was “moderating his stance ahead of 2024, before he just favored summary executions while defiling the bodies.”

Source: The Week
Featured image: Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images


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