Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, implored President Trump to re-think how he views dictators from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, The Philippines, North Korea and China in a new column Tuesday.
“It’s a good thing [my father] isn’t here now to hear President Trump express excitement over China employing the death penalty for drug dealers, and to strongly suggest that we here in the United States should do the same,” she wrote in the Washington Post.
Davis also took aim at Trump’s casual embrace of authoritarian leaders such as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, who openly and controversially embraces the killing of drug dealers in his country.
“Tyrants take life and death casually. Trump has boasted of a ‘great relationship’ with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has encouraged the citizens of his country to kill people who are suspected of drug trafficking and even drug addicts,” Davis wrote.
“He’s defended Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose enemies frequently turn up dead under suspicious circumstances, and negotiated with Kim Jong Un, who had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, executed, and whose half brother, Kim Jong Nam, was assassinated,” Davis said. “It’s not difficult to assume there was rejoicing among the rulers in Saudi Arabia when Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered.”
In the heartfelt editorial, Davis went on to note that “If someone can express excitement over the killing of another human being, that says everything about them….it says that, within that person, where humanity and empathy and respect for life should reside, there is just empty space.”
She ended her piece by calling for real leadership from Trump and the White House, and hoped that the President would take a harder line when it came to standing up for human rights, and standing up to tyrants who ignore those same human rights.
“A leader is supposed to search for the balance between humanity and enforcement of the law,” she said. “A leader is supposed to feel the crushing weight of responsibility when decisions of life and death arise…a leader who does not do that is the sort of person our Founding Fathers tried to keep away from this grand experiment called America.”
Read the full editorial here.