What does the following sentence mean, please?
This sentence is from a book I just read.

Most Americans may balk at caning people, but from the president on down they don't mind killing them.

Thanks!Emotion: smile
All the people (starting with the president at the top, to the common citizens at the bottom).

The sentence shows the irony of accepting capital punishment but not corporal punishment.
The president is at the top of the hierarchy of power in the US government.

"The president on down" means everyone in that hierarchy; from the top all the way to the lowest-ranking person.