FEATURED:

Former Fox host Eric Bolling: Trump 'has empathy and compassion' on opioid crisis

Former Fox host Eric Bolling: Trump 'has empathy and compassion' on opioid crisis
© Getty Images

Former Fox News host Eric Bolling said early Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE has "empathy and compassion" on the opioid epidemic and reached out to him on several occasions to offer his condolences and support following the death of Bolling's 19-year-old son.

The former co-host of "The Five" and "Cashin' In" shared on "Morning Joe" that Trump called on Thanksgiving — the family's first holiday without their only son.

“We’re about to sit down to the Thanksgiving table, and there’s an empty chair right there, Eric’s chair,” Bolling told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “I’m seeing it happening — the turkey’s on the table, and we’re walking over there, and it’s going to be really bad. And the phone rings, and it’s Trump who says, ‘You know, Eric, I understand this is the first holiday without him. I wanted you to know we’re thinking about you.’"

ADVERTISEMENT

“He [Trump] cares about this issue,” Bolling added later. "The guy has empathy and compassion for this.”

Eric Chase Bolling died of an overdose in September 2017 shortly after it was announced by Fox News that his father would not be returning to the network following sexual harassment allegations. Brzezinski said at the top of the interview that Bolling's departure from Fox News would not be discussed to allow the conversation to focus on Bolling's volunteer work with the White House on the opioid issue.

Bolling, 54, first described what happened after he and his wife, Adrian, learned in a phone call that their son had died.

“It was a complete, devastating shock to us. Adrian spilled out onto the road," he recalled on "Morning Joe."

"I picked her up and we sat on the curb for a while and your mind goes to a place that I can’t explain," he continued.

"Immediately we were in major, major depression. We didn’t know what to do.”

The official cause of Eric Chase Bolling's death was mixed drug intoxication, including cocaine and fentanyl, according to an October 2017 report by the Boulder County Coroner in Colorado. Bolling's son was attending the University of Colorado at the time of his death.

"His did great in his first year at the University of Colorado. And this is important: In the last couple of weeks of his life, there was a dramatic change in his personality," Bolling explained on Wednesday.

"He must have hooked up with some people, maybe he was starting to experiment with some of the harder drugs. And I'm telling you, if you see a personality change — it was dramatic. As a parent you say, 'Something's going on.' We just had no idea how dramatic it was ultimately going to be."

The former commodities trader was reportedly also once in discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team about taking a role in the Commerce Department, but ultimately renewed with Fox News for a multiyear contract in early 2017.

Bolling told Scarborough and Brzezinski, who were doing the show from Washington, D.C.  in a departure from its usual New York City setting, that he was heading to the White House to talk more about the opioid crisis.

The conversation comes after the president's new fiscal 2019 budget was unveiled earlier this week, which calls for $13 billion over the next two years for opioid-related programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 64,070 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, which was more than the total number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War (58,220), and a 21-percent increase over the previous year.