Politics

New Hampshire Lawmakers Not Thrilled With Trump’s 'Drug-Infested Den' Comments

State’s all-Democratic delegation blasts president for January remarks

President Donald Trump on the phone in the Oval Office on June 27. During a call with his Mexican counterpart that day, Trump said “drug lords in Mexico” are “knocking the hell out of our country.” (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Hampshire lawmakers are criticizing President Donald Trump over reports that he referred to the Granite State as a “drug-infested den” to his Mexican counterpart.

“No, Mr. President, you’re wrong about New Hampshire — but you have failed to help us fight the opioid crisis. We need recovery facilities NOW. Stop attacking health care and make the investments you promised,” Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said in a Facebook post about transcripts of a Jan. 27 telephone call between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that were published by The Washington Post on Thursday.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who as governor was faced with New Hampshire’s opioid crisis head on, was similarly unamused. 

“Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, @POTUS needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis,” Hassan said as part of a series of tweets.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who also served as New Hampshire governor before being elected to the Senate, said on Twitter that Trump “owes NH an apology & then should follow through on his promise to Granite Staters to help end this crisis.”

And Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster tweeted that the president's “insults to NH are appalling. We’re working across the aisle to address the opioid crisis.” She also said Trump “has failed to take action.”

During the phone call with Pena Nieto, Trump reiterated his promise to U.S. voters that the Mexican government would pay for his proposed wall along the southern border. Since then, Trump and GOP leaders in Congress have pushed to fund construction of the wall through U.S. taxpayer funds. Trump said the wall would keep drugs from coming to the United States, including to New Hampshire. 

“And we have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country. They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York,” Trump said. “Up in New Hampshire — I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den – [drugs are] coming from the southern border.”

After winning New Hampshire’s GOP primary last year, Trump narrowly lost the state and its four electoral votes in November’s general election to Hillary Clinton.

Also, the drug crisis in the state is centered on opioid abuse, which can be acquired primarily domestically, as opposed to other drugs that are illegally channeled through places like Mexico, such as marijuana and cocaine. 

In other parts of his conversation with Pena Nieto, Trump sent a different message about the wall.

“Because from an economic issue, it is the least important thing we were talking about,” he said. “But psychologically, it means something.”

[White House Aide Was Against Immigration Policy Before He Was for It]

In another part of the call, Trump appeared to offer to put U.S. military boots on the ground inside Mexico to help Pena Nieto’s government fight organized crime groups.

“In terms of security, Mr. President, it is clear that organized crime is just as much our enemy as it is the enemy of your administration,” the Mexican leader told Trump.

The still-new American leader replied that the two countries must “knock the hell out of them,” referring to the crime groups.

“Listen, I know how tough these guys are — our military will knock them out like you never thought of, we will work to help you knock them out because your country does not want that,” Trump said. “Your citizens are being killed all over the place, your police officers are being shot in the head, and your children are being killed. And we will knock them out.”

Jason Dick contributed to this story.

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