PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The word first came in a tweet from President Donald Trump: “Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar.”
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
It came as pressure grew on the Pennsylvania congressman to withdraw after an explosive CBS “60 Minutes” report that Marino had authored a bill to weaken the Drug Enforcement Agency’s control over opioid drug distributors.
Tom Marino out as Trump’s drug czar nominee after 60 Minutes report – live updateshttps://t.co/lj5JWJrMoD
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 17, 2017
West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin led the fight against Marino and told KDKA’s Jon Delano that Marino’s actions compromised his effectiveness.
“Once it’s been revealed… now is going to be the drug czar, you’re going to say, ‘Now, wait a minute, do you think anybody in West Virginia believes that Congressman Marino is really going to protect them and fight for them and make sure that they are not going to have over-prescriptions or this type of illicit participation?’” questioned Manchin.
Marino did not respond to phone calls and emails, but President Trump shared what Marino told him on Fox News Radio.
“He felt compelled. He feels very strong about the opioid problem and the drug problem, which is a worldwide problem. It’s a problem that we have.”
“And Tom Marino said, ‘Look, I’ll take a pass. I have no choice. I really will take a pass. I want to do it.’ And he was very gracious. He didn’t want to have even the perception of a conflict of interest with drug companies, or frankly, insurance companies.”
Neither U.S. Sen. Bob Casey nor U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey had any reaction to the withdrawal of their Pennsylvania colleague from consideration as drug czar.