Trump claims he won New Hampshire because it’s a ‘drug-infested den’
ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Donald Trump claimed in a phone conversation with Mexican President Pena Nieto that he won New Hampshire because it is a “drug-infested den,” according to a transcript released by the Washington Post.
“We have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country,” said Trump, according to the transcript of the Jan. 27 call between Trump and Nieto.
“They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York. Up in New Hampshire – I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den – is coming from the southern border.”
Trump won New Hampshire’s Republican primary in 2016 and narrowly lost the state to Hillary Clinton in the general election. During his campaign, he often referenced the opioid epidemic striking communities across the country and the flow of illegal drugs across the border from Mexico.
New Hampshire’s senators quickly denounced Trump’s reported characterization of the Granite State as “drug-infested.”
Former governor of New Hampshire and current Sen. Maggie Hassan called Trump’s comment “disgusting.”
“As he knows, NH and states across America have a substance misuse crisis,” tweeted Hassan. “Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, the president needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen asked Trump to issue an apology to New Hampshire. “It’s absolutely unacceptable for the President to be talking about New Hampshire in this way—a gross misrepresentation of New Hampshire and the epidemic.”
The state’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, who is up for re-election next year, quickly rebuked Trump’s comment and said in a statement “the President is wrong.”
“It’s disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer,” said Sununu. “Our administration inherited one of the worst health crises this state has ever experienced, but we are facing this challenge head on. We have doubled our resources to support prevention, treatment and recovery; dedicated millions to law enforcements efforts to keep drugs out of our state, increased the availability of naloxone, and are rebuilding our prevention programs for our kids.”
He continued, “We are already seeing positive signs of our efforts as overdoses and deaths are declining in key parts of the state. In spite of this crisis, New Hampshire remains the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
Trump said he learned about the opioid crisis by campaigning in New Hampshire. “I go to other states and they say very similar things,” said Trump in Atkinson, New Hampshire days before the election. “But honestly never as much fervor as drugs in New Hampshire, and it just really had a great impact.”
New Hampshire has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Currently the Granite State ranks second to West Virginia for number of opioid-related deaths per capita, and first in the nation for number of synthetic opioid (fentanyl) deaths per capita according to the Centers for Disease Control.
This week, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid asked for President Trump to declare a “national emergency” to combat the epidemic.
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