Tom Marino, the Republican congressman from Pennsylvania formerly under consideration to become Donald Trump’s new drug czar, has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration. The president announced the news Tuesday morning, saying Marino “informed” him of his withdrawal, suggesting the decision was the representative’s. However, considering a joint investigation by CBS News and the Washington Post — which revealed Marino was the “chief advocate” for a bill that prevented the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from responding to the explosive opioid crisis — that might not be the case.
During his wild press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on Monday, Trump was asked about the 60 Minutes report on Marino’s bill and its apparent negative effects on the crisis. “We’re going to look at that very closely,” he told reporters. “He’s a good man. I have not spoken to him, but I will speak to him, and I’ll make that determination.” The bill, which Marino co-sponsored with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), ultimately “weakened the DEA’s authority to stop companies from distributing opioids.” He also reportedly accepted $100,000 from a pharmaceutical lobby at this time.
Whether or not Trump (or his administration) forced Marino’s hand remains to be seen. The president declared the spreading opioid crisis to be a national emergency in August, and during Monday’s press conference, he told reporters additional announcements regarding the matter would be forthcoming.