Oct 26, 2017

Ohio Dem: Trump doesn't understand "the level of destruction" from opioids

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) speaks out after Trump's opioid declaration. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio is the kind of Democrat President Trump might have been able to get on his side. He's a centrist, and he's from a district that has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. But in an interview with Axios, he said he's not impressed by Trump's "public health emergency" declaration — he thinks Trump is underestimating the amount of help that the most devastated communities need.

Why it matters: Ryan has introduced various bills to address substance abuse and has been fighting the opioid epidemic for the last five years. His county in Ohio experienced record-high incidents of opioid overdoses in September, and he urged Trump back in April to declare a national emergency.

What the declaration means: "It's very underwhelming in the sense that all it does is free up $57,000 more to try to address this problem," Rep. Ryan said. "$57,000 could barely help Trumbull County, one of the 88 counties in Ohio, let alone the entire country. I don't think he understands the level of destruction that's happening in these communities."

The Trump effect: "It's kind of typical of Trump's approach to governing where there's a lot of ceremony and smoke and mirrors, and when the dust settles there's not a whole lot that has been done." Ryan also said that the administration hasn't engaged him in discussions about solutions for the opioid crisis, even though he's a co-chair of the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus and a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Drug Task Force.

"Some of us were hopeful because he used this during his campaign a lot so we thought he'd be aggressive, but he hasn't been," Ryan said. "It took them six months to even do this [declaration]."

Go deeper: Inside Trump's "public health emergency" declaration and what he said during his speech.

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.