In a phone call with Mexican President Peña Nieto in January, President Donald Trump said he won support in New Hampshire “because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” a reference to the state’s opioid crisis.
A transcript of Trump’s Jan. 27 phone call — during which he faulted Mexico for the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. — was obtained and published by the Washington Post on Thursday.
“They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York. Up in New Hampshire — I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den — is coming from the southern border,” Trump told Peña Nieto.
Trump — who won the Republican primary in New Hampshire but lost the state to Hillary Clinton in the general election — campaigned in New Hampshire on a promise to solve the opioid addiction epidemic.
“We are becoming a drug-addicted nation and most the drugs are coming from Mexico or certainly from the southern border,” Trump told Peña Nieto in the call. “We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because drugs are being sold for less money than candy because there is so much of it.”
The New Hampshire comment drew ire from Democratic leaders as well as the state’s Republican governor on Thursday.
“The President is wrong. It’s disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. “Our administration inherited one of the worst health crises this state has ever experienced, but we are facing this challenge head on.”
Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan called the remarks “disgusting.” “Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, @POTUS needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis,” she said on Twitter.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable for the President to be talking about NH in this way – a gross misrepresentation of NH & the epidemic,” New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said in a tweet, calling for Trump to apologize.