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Senators unclear on Trump's comment about opioid crisis

As lawmakers gathered in the Oval Office Wednesday night for a bipartisan bill signing to combat opioids, President D...

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 9:09 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 9:09 AM

As lawmakers gathered in the Oval Office Wednesday night for a bipartisan bill signing to combat opioids, President Donald Trump made one comment that left some wondering what he meant.

The new law gives US Customs and Border Protection more screening devices to detect fentanyl and other opioids that are being imported to the country. Trump said it feels like a "very giant step" in the opioid crisis but argued "it's not going to be a giant step, because no matter what you do, this is something that keeps pouring" into the country."

President Donald Trump said this week he had the answer to the opioid problem

Senators who were at the bill signing were puzzled by the comments

The President said he had the answer to the problem.

"There is an answer. I think I actually know the answer, but I'm not sure the country is ready for it yet," he said, before looking around at some of the lawmakers. "Does anybody know what I mean? I think so."

Some senators -- who attended the bill signing and are well versed on the opioid issue -- were puzzled by the comment when asked about them Thursday.

"I had no idea what answer that is," said Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican. "I was intrigued, too, I'd like to know."

"Yeah, I wondered about that," said West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. "I didn't follow up and ask."

The West Virginia Republican continued: "When he said that, I thought, 'Uh, good for you if that's actually what he thinks?' But it's more complicated than one silver bullet."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said, "I remember something like that," before later adding: "I think the answer is, unfortunately, a lot of different things."

"I don't have any idea what the President was talking about," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. "I don't know if he even knew what he was talking about."

Asked if she had an idea as to what he was referring to, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, said, "Not at all."

The White House has not responded to a request to explain Trump's comment.

Given that the bill involved Customs and Border Protection, Capito said Trump was maybe talking about some sort of border security measure.

Brown didn't speculate on what the President meant, but he does hope part of Trump's solution involves more funding for treatment centers to help those with addiction.

Portman said he thought perhaps the President was talking about prevention measures. "I think it may have been the prevention side because that's ultimately the answer here to how you keep people from falling into this."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 3297
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Ramsey24528470
Anoka19211213
Dakota18738176
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Scott735654
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Morrison207521
Lyon189810
McLeod18089
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Goodhue173126
Becker16769
Itasca165223
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 210482

Reported Deaths: 2173
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31270322
Linn13252158
Scott1022075
Black Hawk10209126
Woodbury9870111
Johnson900835
Dubuque866490
Story637819
Dallas595555
Pottawattamie574666
Sioux349925
Webster330928
Marshall327841
Cerro Gordo323041
Clinton303637
Buena Vista290214
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Des Moines266116
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Wapello239971
Jones221112
Jasper202739
Marion191518
Carroll188220
Lee188015
Bremer176012
Henry16847
Crawford168215
Benton157414
Tama145140
Jackson13608
Delaware134721
Boone127711
Washington126513
Dickinson126210
Mahaska119027
Wright11425
Buchanan10789
Page10774
Hardin105810
Clay10434
Harrison101428
Clayton10084
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Hamilton9877
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Calhoun9787
Fayette9588
Lyon9458
Floyd92614
Kossuth9214
Poweshiek91512
Butler8943
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Winnebago87423
Iowa86711
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Hancock7947
Chickasaw7853
Grundy77310
Sac7617
Cherokee7484
Cass73519
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Shelby7184
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