Marino Withdraws As Drug Czar Nominee, Trump Says

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Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino. Courtesy Tom Marino website.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) has dropped out as President Trump’s choice to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the president tweeted Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. An investigation by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” showed how Marino helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies, the Post reports. The measure sailed through Congress last year with virtually no opposition.

Trump said “we’re going to be looking into” the issue, as many Democrats and at least one Republican called for modification or repeal of the law. The president also said he would make a “major announcement, probably next week” about how his administration plans to tackle opioid addiction in the U.S., a “massive problem” that he wants to get “absolutely right.”

Trump said, “This country and, frankly, the world has a drug problem. We’re going to do something about it.” A presidential declaration could allow the administration to remove bureaucratic barriers governing how states and localities respond to the drug epidemic. One rule restricts where Medicaid recipients can receive addiction treatment.

After the Post-“60 Minutes” report on Marino, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said nominating him for drug czar “is like putting the wolf in charge of the henhouse. The American people deserve someone totally committed to fighting the opioid crisis, not someone who’s labored on behalf of the drug industry.”

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