So, earlier this week, President Donald Trump, a human-shaped Home Depot bag stuffed with shit and asbestos, declared that North Korea would face “fire, fury, and…power the likes of which the world has never seen before.” And that’s fucked up right there. It’s sort of like a chimp pissing off a snake. The chimp is gonna win the fight, but it might get the shit bitten out of it.
One thing that’s been lost here is that Trump made his typically insane and hyperbolic threat at the end of a statement about the topic he was sitting down to discuss in a side room of the clubhouse of his New Jersey golf resort. That was a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services – Tom Price and his political operatives (yes, Jared was there) to get an update on the crisis of opioid addiction and overdose deaths that is fucking up a lot of communities across the nation.
The briefing was either a response to a Fox “news” story (no, really) or to the report that was put out by the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Governor and man most likely to punch someone while holding nachos Chris Christie. Trump had called for the commission to come up with a battle plan to fight the widespread, you know, crisis, as it says in the name there. He even received praise from families of overdose victims for seeming to actually give a shit about it.
Christie’s commission’s interim report to Trump very specifically and, let’s be fair here, strongly talked about the extent of the problem and recommended forceful action: “The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act. With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.”
Then the report states quite clearly the effect of such an action: “Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life. It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”
And it puts this squarely on Trump’s shoulders, even appealing to his fragile ego: “You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.” Christie was confident that Trump would accept the recommendations of the commission, because?
How did Trump respond? Did he rise to the moment and declare a national health emergency, allowing addicts to get treatment more easily under Medicaid? Did he declare he would no longer pursue cuts in funding for addiction treatment? Of course, he didn’t. As usual, he did the most dickish thing he could. He blamed the addicts: “The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don’t start, they won’t have a problem. If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off. So we can keep them from going on, and maybe by talking to youth and telling them, ‘No good; really bad for you’ in every way. But if they don’t start, it will never be a problem.”
You got that? Just say, “No,” kids. If you get fentanyl to help with your pain from surgery to fix a work-related injury, you need to tell yourself, “No good; really bad for you” as if you didn’t know that in the first fucking place. And notice that Trump didn’t say a fucking thing about the addicts themselves. Oh, he talked about increasing sentences for drug offenders and once again about his goddamn border enforcement. But he didn’t say, and Price later confirmed, that he would declare an emergency. Because health emergencies aren’t sexy and don’t get good ratings.
By the way, the commission’s report didn’t mention the border wall at all. So apparently, the members didn’t see that as a solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, abuse and deaths are affecting every corner of the country. A record number of overdoses are occurring, with rising numbers nearly everywhere, from Virginia to Oregon. In Indiana, schools have started carrying anti-overdose drugs (Narcan). And New Hampshire, which Trump called a “drug-infested den,” is joining a lawsuit with other states and localities against the maker of OxyContin. The Trump administration has, more or less, punted the whole problem to the states and is pretending that it’s doing something when, really, it’s failing on this as it’s failed on so many other things.
Yeah, Trump’s bullshit bluster against North Korea is frightening. But in the same remarks, he shit all over Christie, the commission, and the millions of Americans affected by the opioid crisis. And that’s gonna hurt more people than any bullshit dick-measuring between two bloated megalomaniacs.