WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) has withdrawn from consideration as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. a position generally referred to as “drug czar, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.
Rep.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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
The withdrawal comes amid reports from the Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Marino authored a law backed by the pharmaceutical companies that halted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from cracking down on shipments to questionable pharmacies and doctors.
Former DEA official Joe Rannazzisi told” 60 Minutes” that the law, spearheaded by Marino, effectively opened the floodgates for the illegal distribution of opioids.
Trump — who has described the epidemic surrounding addiction to opioids as a “national emergency” — said during a Monday news conference that the administration would look into Marino’s nomination following the reports.
“He’s a good man. I have not spoken to him, but I will speak to him and I’ll make that determination,” Trump said. “If I think it’s one percent negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change, yes.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose state has been particularly hard hit by opioid addiction, asked the Trump administration to drop Marino on Monday.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 16, 2017
Marino’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Democrats applauded Tuesday’s announcement.
“The opioid crisis demands that the next drug czar is solely focused on getting communities across the country the help they desperately need,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “I hope the Trump administration nominates someone that fits that bill.”