Trump Promises To Vet Rep. Marino For Drug Role

Trump says he's looking into a report that Rep. Tom Marino led a push to defang the Drug Enforcement Agency's ability to deal with the opioid crisis.
Posted at 7:59 PM, Oct 16, 2017

President Donald Trump says he's "looking into" a report that Rep. Tom Marino, his pick to head the Office of National Drug Policy, helped craft a law that hurt the government's ability to tackle the opioid crisis.

During a press conference, Trump told reporters: "He's a great guy — I did see the report. We're looking into the report, we're going to take it very seriously." 

report from The Washington Post and CBS' "60 Minutes" claims a 2016 law effectively undermined the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's ability to freeze suspicious shipments from drug distributors.

Current and former DEA employees argue the law prevents the agency from effectively targeting the sources of opioids. The Post notes it was passed after a $106 million lobbying campaign by the pharmaceutical industry.

Marino, who received nearly $100,000 in contributions from the industry, spearheaded three versions of the bill in the House before it was passed in the Senate.

The news hasn't gone over well with Senate Democrats. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has called on Trump to rescind Marino's nomination, and Sen. Claire McCaskill is planning legislation that would undo the law's limits on the DEA.

Trump praised Marino's support for his campaign, but also says he's focused on curbing the opioid epidemic and plans to have a major announcement on that front soon.

"I want to get that absolutely right. This country, and frankly the world, has a drug problem. The world has a drug problem, but we have it, and we're going to do something about it," Trump said.