Here’s how New Hampshire officials responded to Trump’s ‘drug-infested den’ comment

jeanne shaheen
Senator Jeanne Shaheen speaks to reporters in June. –Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Politicians, substance abuse experts, and others in New Hampshire have addressed the comments made by President Donald Trump after the Washington Post published Tuesday the transcript of a January 27 phone call he had with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” Trump told Peña Nieto while discussing drug trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said on Facebook she believes the president should apologize.

“It’s time for the president to start weighing in in a way that’s helpful,” Shaheen told MSNBC on Thursday.

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U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, also a Democrat, called the president’s comments “disgusting” in a statement.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu said that the remarks were “wrong” and “disappointing.”

U.S. Representative Annie Kuster, another Democrat, also demanded an apology, calling the comments “nasty rhetoric.”

Not all politicians in the Granite State were critical, though. State Representative Al Baldasaro, a Republican and vocal Trump supporter, said that he wouldn’t apologize if he were Trump.

Along with politicians, substance abuse education and treatment organizations also commented.

The Partnership for a Drug Free New Hampshire, a state-sponsored nonprofit, didn’t mention Trump specifically, but they released a statement focusing on the language used to discuss the opioid crisis on Thursday.

Eric Spofford, CEO of Granite Recovery Center, said New Hampshire is not a “drug-infested den” in an interview on the treatment center’s website.

“New Hampshire is a beautiful state and a wonderful place to live and I wouldn’t want to raise my son anywhere but right here. We do have a very serious and rising opioid epidemic, but that is not limited to New Hampshire. It’s a national problem.”

Multiple New Hampshire publications have also published opinion pieces responding to the quote.

An editorial from the New Hampshire Union Leader encouraged a continued focus on policy.

“Campaigning in the first-in-the-nation primary, Trump was impressed with the severity of the festering drug crisis. Trump, being Trump, is using exaggerated and crude language. That’s hardly helpful.

We need to ignore Trump’s foolishness and stay focused on success. Manchester’s Safe Station program, for example, has set a national standard. Let’s keep at it.”

Amber Phillips suggested in a Portsmouth Herald column that the comment was strategically poor for Trump.

“It sounds obvious, but apparently not obvious enough to President Trump: Don’t insult an entire state,” she wrote. “Especially one that’s critical to you and your party’s future election hopes. But just six days after getting inaugurated, Trump went there.”

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Trump’s Deputy press secretary, Lindsay Walters, addressed the comments on Thursday, but the president has not as of this time.

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