Trump called New Hampshire a ‘drug-infested den’ in call to Mexico
President Trump called New Hampshire a “drug-infested den” during a heated phone call in January with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, according to a transcript obtained by The Washington Post and published on Thursday.
Trump during the call blasted Peña Nieto over the flow of illegal drugs across the border into the U.S.
“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” the president said. “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den.”
Trump won the Republican presidential primary in the Granite State but lost there to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election.
During the campaign, Trump spoke frequently about how drug addiction was hurting places like New Hampshire. But it’s highly unusual for a U.S. president to paint such a bleak picture of a state in a call with a foreign leader.
His comments sparked a furious reaction from New Hampshire’s elected officials.
“The president is wrong,” the state’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, said in a statement. “It’s disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) in a tweet on Thursday called Trump’s comments about her state “disgusting.”
“As he knows, NH and states across America have a substance misuse crisis,” she tweeted.
Hassan, a former governor of the state, also hit Trump for including major cuts to addiction, treatment and recovery programs in his administration’s budget blueprint.
“To date, @POTUS has proposed policies that would severely set back our efforts to combat this devastating epidemic,” she tweeted. “Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, @POTUS needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) tweeted that Trump “owes NH an apology” and should “follow through on his promise to Granite Staters to help end this crisis.”
“No, Mr. President, you’re wrong about NH — but you have failed to help up fight the opioid crisis,” tweeted Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.).
Trump’s conversation with Peña Nieto was one of a string of get-to-know-you phone calls following the inauguration that turned contentious.
The nature of the call was previously disclosed, but the transcript obtained by the Post sheds new light on some of the details.
Peña Nieto responded that drug trafficking in Mexico is “largely supported by the illegal amounts of money and weapons coming from the United States.”
Trump pleaded with his Mexican counterpart to stop saying publicly his government would never pay with a border wall, which he said undermined one of his core campaign promises.
He also blasted Peña Nieto over the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and threatened to cut off remittance payments if the Mexican leader didn’t reverse his rhetoric on the wall.