GOP N.H. governor confronted White House over lack of opioid funding: report

GOP N.H. governor confronted White House over lack of opioid funding: report
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GOP New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu initially resisted a visit to his state from President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE last month over the country's opioid addiction crisis, telling the White House that he didn't want his state used as a prop for the administration.

CBS News reports  that Sununu battled White House aide Katy Talento, who sits on the White House Domestic Policy Council, over whether Trump could come to the state to promote his plan to battle the opioid epidemic while not providing additional funding for state initiatives.


"The president cannot come to New Hampshire without a plan that has substance," Sununu reportedly told the White House. "You can't come here with an empty bag and use the state as a prop," a source added, paraphrasing the governor.

Talento, who was in charge of coordinating Trump's March visit to the Granite State, was "clearly unhappy," according to the report.

Congress put aside $6 billion to fight the opioid crisis in 2018 and 2019 in the budget passed earlier this year, but that number was far less than some New Hampshire lawmakers were hoping for and it was not clear how much of that money the state would receive.

Trump eventually spoke in New Hampshire later that month, vowing to stop the heroin flow over the U.S.'s southern border with Mexico.

"Ninety percent of the heroin in America comes from our southern border, where eventually the Democrats will agree with us and we'll build the wall to keep the damn drugs out,” Trump said.

In a statement to CBS, the governor's spokesman refused to confirm or deny the reports of the friction but said that Sununu would continue being a strong advocate for aid in dealing with the country's opioid crisis, which has struck New Hampshire particularly hard.

"Whether Governor Sununu is talking to the President, White House officials, or substance misuse professionals in New Hampshire, his passion for advocating for the Granite State is evident," Sununu's spokesperson Ben Vihstadt told CBS News.

"He remains committed to tackling this crisis head-on, and will never fail to speak up to ensure that New Hampshire always has a seat at the table because lives are at stake."

Talento and the White House did not respond to inquiries about the conversation.