Sununu pushes back after Trump’s assertion that he won NH because it’s a ‘drug-infested den’

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Donald Trump during a 2014 stop at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH. Photo/Carol Robidoux

CONCORD, NH – Governor Chris Sununu says President Trump is “wrong,” about New Hampshire, after comments Trump made January 27 were publicized today. In his comments, Trump bragged that he won New Hampshire in the general election because New Hampshire is “a drug-infested den.” Those comments were published Aug. 3 in the Washington Post.

On Thursday morning Sununu issued the following statement:

“The President is wrong.  It’s disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer.

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 enforcement’s efforts to keep drugs out of our state, increased the availability of naloxone, and are rebuilding our prevention programs for our kids.

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’s comments were taken from a transcript of Trump’s January 27 call  with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that was published by The Washington Post Aug. 3. During the call Trump derided Nieto for the volume of illegal drugs entering the U.S. via Mexico. 

“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” Trump said. During the conversation, Trump also bragged that he won the Granite State because of the opioid epidemic. 
 
“I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” Trump said.
 
Fake news alert: Trump’s statement is false.
 
Trump did win the Republican primary in New Hampshire, but had fewer overall votes than Bernie Sanders, who won the Democratic primary and earned more votes in New Hampshire  – 151,584 to Trump’s 100,406 votes. Trump lost the general election to Hillary Clinton, 348,526 to 345,790 votes.
 
In addition to the governor, New Hampshire’s delegation – and many others – were swift to respond to Trump, also via Twitter:
 
 
On Aug. 2, Mayor Ted Gatsas sent a letter to Trump (see below) signed by several city leaders including Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard, former Police Chief David Mara and Fire Chief Dan Goonan, seeking federal “support and resources” rather than “mischaracterizing” a state that “has been at the forefront” of seeking solutions.
 
Following news of Trump’s remarks on Thursday, Gatsas reiterated that while Manchester – and the entire state – are in crisis, the city has also led the way with innovative approaches to reducing the suffering and addressing the epidemic.
 
“We have a crisis. People are dying and families are being torn apart by this horrible epidemic.  As a city and a state we have fought this battle head on implementing programs like Manchester Safe Station, Operation Granite Hammer and our WRAP services to treat those suffering from substance abuse disorder. The City of Manchester and New Hampshire have led on this issue.  Communities from across the country are looking to us for best practices.  What we need now is support and resources,” Gatsas said.
 
“The President has an opportunity before him with the request for an emergency declaration by the Presidential Commission on Addiction and Opioid Abuse. As I stated in my letter to him, this is absolutely necessary and I hope that he sees fit to make that declaration rather than mischaracterize a state that has been at the forefront of addressing this crisis,” Gatsas said.
 
The opioid crisis was a prominent theme among presidential candidates during the 2016 election cycle, including Trump, who vowed he would not forget the people struggling, and said he was with the people of New Hampshire, “1000 percent.” In May, CNN followed up with addiction recovery advocates in New Hampshire, many of whom said they felt “betrayed” by Trump’s promises during the campaign.
 
As reported by CNN, Trump kicked off his presidential campaign here with promises about how as president he would “boost local clinics, help those who are already hooked on opioids and stop the flow of drugs coming into the state.”
 
“I just want to let the people of New Hampshire know that I’m with you 1000%, you really taught me a lot,” Trump said on the campaign trail, before adding a hopeful promise of assistance to those who  struggled with addiction.
 

Letter from Mayor Ted Gatsas, et al:

About Carol Robidoux 6304 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!