Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) won’t be the nation’s drug czar after withdrawing his name from consideration.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that Marino had dropped out of consideration, praising him as “a fine man”:
Earlier this week, The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” reported Marino helped steer legislation making it harder for law enforcers to act against giant drug companies.
Congress passed a law in 2016 weakening the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to crack down on drug makers and distribution companies supplying doctors and pharmacists peddling opioids to the black market. Marino was the “chief advocate” for the legislation, the report says.
During a press conference one day after that report was published, Trump declined to express confidence in Marino.
“We’re going to be looking into Tom,” Trump said. “We’re going to look into the report, we’re going to take it very seriously.”
Democrats spoke out against Marino this week, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who told CNN Tuesday morning Marino would become drug czar “over my dead body.” Manchin penned a letter to Trump Monday expressing concern over the WaPo/“60 Minutes” report.
“His advocacy for this legislation demonstrates that Congressman Marino either does not fully understand the scope and devastation of this epidemic or ties to industry overrode those concerns,” Manchin wrote. “Either option leaves him unfit to serve as the head of the ONDCP.”
Manchin thanked Trump “for recognizing we need a drug czar who has seen the devastating effects of the problem” in a tweet on Tuesday.
Trump said Monday he would make a big announcement on the opioid crisis “probably next week,” hinting he’ll formally declare it a national emergency months after he promised to do so.
Approximately 142 Americans die daily due to opioid addiction, an Opioid Commission report revealed in August. The amount of opioids prescribed in 2015 were “enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.”
Willa Frej contributed reporting.