“I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” Trump said to President Enrique Peña Nieto, reports Greg Miller at The Washington Post. The Post got transcripts of Trump’s calls to several world leaders.
Trump seemed unaware that he’d actually lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton in last November’s presidential election. Of course, that wouldn’t be the first obvious fact of which the Big Orange Leader seemed completely oblivious.Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan, both Democrats, were angered at Trump’s boorish characterization of the opioid crisis in their state. Sen. Hassan called Trump’s comments “disgusting,” reports the BBC.
“@realDonaldTrump’s comments about New Hampshire are disgusting. As he knows, NH and states across America have a substance misuse crisis,” Hassan wrote on Twitter.
“Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, @POTUS needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis,” Hassan wrote.Shaheen also condemned Trump’s uncharitable language, and slammed him for not keeping his promise that his administration would do more to help states combat addiction.
“@RealDonaldTrump owes NH an apology & then should follow through on his promise to Granite Staters to help end this crisis,” Shaheen tweeted.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable for the President to be talking about NH in this way – a gross misrepresentation of NH & the epidemic,” she added.Trump’s comments were also attacked online by the New Hampshire Democratic Party. The party’s Twitter account began retweeting scenic landscape images of the rugged New England state.
U.S. Representative Carole Shea-Porter, a Democrat, called on Trump to do more to help fund the response to the crisis, reports Scott Malone at Reuters.
“No, Mr. President, you’re wrong about New Hampshire – but you have failed to help us fight the opioid crisis,” Shea-Porter said. “Stop attacking health care, and make the investments you promised.”
The tweets asked if that looked like a “drug infested den,” and called on state GOP leaders to reply to Trump.The New Hampshire Republican Party didn’t defend Trump’s description, but it weakly replied that the GOP has been working to combat the opioid crisis, reports Jake Lahut at Politico. “Are @NHDems denying NH is in the middle of an opioid epidemic?” the NH GOP tweet read. “NH Republicans have been working everyday to fight the crisis.”
Republican Governor Chris Sununu quickly responded. He issued a statement simply saying, “Mr Trump is wrong. It’s disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer.”
“No politician in his right mind would refer to a US state as a ‘drug infested den’,” wrote the BBC. In the phone call, Trump assailed the Mexican president for the flow of illegal drugs into the USA from south of the border.“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” Trump claimed.
President Peña Nieto didn’t take that lying down. He quickly told Trump that drug trafficking in Mexico is “largely supported by the illegal amounts of money and weapons coming from the United States,” according to the transcript.“Trump’s comments are reprehensible and will do nothing to save lives,” said asha bandele, senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “We who are concerned with disrupting morbidity and actually ensuring people’s lives should be worried about the language of fear and shame he promotes.
“At a moment when Trump has pushed to reduce healthcare, including drug treatment for millions, and his attorney general is seeking to reinvigorate the now widely acknowledged failed practices of a punitive drug war, what we should all be talking about are the solutions that actually save people’s lives,” bandele said. “There are things we know.
“First, people in all societies known to us have used drugs,” bandele said. “The question we should seek to answer, then, given this, is what has ensured their lives? The answer to that can be found in the plethora of interventions rooted in compassion and public health.“If Trump was truly concerned about the loss of life, he would seek to promote the myriad life-saving and life-transforming interventions available,” bandele said. “He would be working to ensure naloxone was widely available so that no one had to overdose from opiates.
“There would be public education campaigns – like there are about smoking and drinking – that would warn people not to mix opioids with other drugs, help people understand proper dosage and testing available so people knew what they were actually ingesting,” bandele said. “Voluntary treatment would widely be available, no matter what a person’s economic status is.
“We’ve seen evidence of success in not only reducing drug related morbidity but also drug addiction in countries all over Western Europe where leaders have actually demonstrated care and concern for the citizens they serve, rather than demonstrating derision and demonization of them,” bandele pointed out. “Stigmatizing people as Trump does only moves them away from protocols that could not only save their lives, but elevate the quality of them. Shame on him.”Earlier this week, a White House commission chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged Trump to declare the opioid epidemic a “national emergency.” The number of deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999, according to the commission, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Hampshire, like many states, has been particularly hard hit. According to the latest available at a, more than 400 people died of drug overdoses in New Hampshire in 2015. That’s more than 2.5 times the number who died of overdoses in 2011.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.