Like Sweden and Long Island before it, New Hampshire has joined the ranks of places that have been ruined by immigrants — at least in President Trump’s vivid imagination. In a transcript of a January phone call between President Trump and Mexican President Peña Nieto, Trump discussed everything from tariffs to the border wall and how to pay for it. Tucked into that conversation is an interesting, if inaccurate, tidbit: Trump thinks he won New Hampshire in the general election because it’s hooked on Mexican heroin.
Early on in the January 27 phone call, Trump offered to help Nieto combat Mexico’s “pretty tough hombres” who have been smuggling drugs across the border. “They have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job of knocking them out,” the President told Nieto. “We are willing to help you with that big-league.” Trump went on to explain the finer details of the situation:
…We have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country. 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. …We are becoming a drug-addicted nation and most the drugs are coming from Mexico or certainly from the southern border.
This exchange was included in a transcript of the phone call prepared by the White House and only just now released by the Washington Post. The Post helpfully annotated the transcript with fact-checks and background information, and they note that President Trump’s assessment of his relationship with New Hampshire is … less than accurate:
New Hampshire has been particularly hard hit by heroin and prescription drug abuse,” the Post explains. “Trump has previously said the state has an ‘unbelievable’ heroin problem, adding: ‘You know where that stuff comes from.’ Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary, but it was actually Clinton who was declared the winner of New Hampshire in the presidential race— six days after she lost the election.
Clinton campaigned on a treatment-based plan for combating the opioid epidemic that included getting overdose antidotes and addiction treatment prescriptions to more addicts and shifting the criminal justice system to a rehabilitation model when appropriate. Trump’s opioid plan focused mainly on the importance of building the wall on the border with Mexico. After taking office, he formed the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which just released an initial report calling on the President to “declare a national emergency.” They also recommended many of the same measures Clinton suggested. The Commission did not recommend building a wall.
UPDATE: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) spoke to the Daily Beast to condemn Trump’s comments about her state, particularly in regard to the opioid epidemic: “They are disgusting comments, and instead of insulting people who are in the throes of addiction, we need action. We really would appreciate actions and resources from the administration, rather than insults.”
(Via Wall Street Journal)