U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday his nominee for drug czar has withdrawn from consideration for the position.
“Representative Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!,” Trump said on Twitter.
Marino, a House Republican, withdrew his name after news reports said the lawmaker played a pivotal role in passing legislation that weakened federal government efforts to reduce the availability of opioid drugs that have inundated communities across the U.S.
Trump raised the possibility of Marino’s withdrawal Monday following reports of Marino’s role in the opioid crisis by The Washington Post and the CBS television program 60 Minutes.
The reports, released Sunday, said Marino, other members of Congress and the nation’s major drug distributors, persuaded the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department to agree to an industry-friendly law that undermined efforts to restrict the flow of opioid pills that have caused tens of thousands of deaths. The law was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in April 2016.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia is one of the hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic, said he was “horrified” by the media accounts about the law and called for Trump to drop Marino from consideration.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was also among those calling on Trump to withdraw Marino’s nomination, saying confirming Marino as the nation’s drug czar would be like “putting the wolf in charge of the henhouse.”
The pharmaceutical industry worked behind closed doors with Marino and other key members of Congress and lobbyists, injecting over one million dollars into their election campaigns, the reports said.
Trump said Monday he will declare a national emergency next week to confront the nation’s opioid crisis.