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WASHINGTON DC (KDKA) — President Donald Trump met with South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming Singapore summit in the works with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

KDKA was invited to cover the meeting at the White House. While we were there, Legal Editor Julie Grant got a chance to speak to counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, on trade, the steel industry and the opioid epidemic.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

When the president withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, he specifically said, “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh not Paris?” On Tuesday, Conway told KDKA not only was that alliterative, but it’s also true.

Conway says Trump has Western Pennsylvania on his mind, especially when it comes to trade policies and the steel industry.

She says President Trump believes if we don’t have steel, we don’t have a country.

“He looks at steel as part of the heart and soul and fabric of America, and he’s made good on that talk with policies where he has put forth tariffs on steel and aluminum. What he is trying to get some of those mills to reopen and try to stabilize the workforce in that particular industry,” said Conway.

Conway says Trump wants his trade policies to be good for the American worker and America’s interests, including the policy for tariffs on imported steel, that is currently on hold.

“As you know, the president has been announcing one-month halts on any policies and we do expect, that deadline is coming up again. I have been part of those conversations and I don’t want to reveal any policy. But I think this is one great example, going back to being a candidate, and certainly as president has made very clear where he stands,” said Conway.

The counselor to the president is always mindful that he was elected on an America-first agenda.

“It’s an America first trade policy. This president is for trade, but he is for fair, free, reciprocal trade, that is the key. He feels like this country has been making bad trade deals for decades and he’s right. Look at the statistics. He just wants these deals to be more fair to Americans and American workers. Now, I would tell you as campaign manager and now counselor to the president, if there is one thread beyond patriotism in America that is really sewn through much of what President Trump says and does, it’s fairness,” said Conway.

Conway told KDKA it’s this theme of fairness that’s behind his tax plan as well as all of his trade deals.

On the opioid problem, Conway acknowledges we may be on the losing end of the fight right now, but the president is not giving up hope and is fighting back.

The number of lives lost is stunning. Last year, 64,000 Americans lost their lives to overdose deaths.

“This President is waging a three-war front, simultaneously not sequentially: 1) education and prevention, 2) treatment and recovery, and 3) law enforcement and interdiction. All of those will help Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere in this fight,” said Conway.

KDKA’s Julie Grant Reports:


 

She wants the people of Western Pennsylvania to know they are on the president’s mind.

“We’re trying to reduce the stigma and the silence because that is literally a killer. If people feel like they can’t come forward and say that they need help,” said Conway.

Some of the many goals include getting more people access to treatment and letting people know they have a right to refuse a 30-day opioid prescription, Conway says.

“Lots of physicians now are being much more responsible and not prescribing 30 days or two bottles for 60 days. We also want people to know that law enforcement interdiction are very much on the front lines now disrupting the flow of illicit drugs,” said Conway.

Another goal, Conway says, is getting youth especially to understand you cannot misuse your own prescription or someone else’s.

“I want everyone in Western Pa. to know what fentanyl is. A lot of Americans don’t know what it is. It’s being laced into street drugs and it’s a killer,” said Conway.

She says she wants people to also realize the power in sharing their own stories, which is why they created, www.crisisnextdoor.gov, where people share their experiences.

“Tell us your story because I think the more than we share those stories, the stigma and silence will break apart,” said Conway.

The White House is also getting ready to launch an educational ad campaign so that a lack of information is no longer part of the problem.

The first lady also recently announced her “Be Best” campaign. One of the pillars is opioid abuse, with a focus one neonatal abstinence syndrome.