Trump Attempts To Comfort Father Who Lost Son To Overdose

By Zachary Siegel 01/19/16

The rare display of compassion was quickly followed up by his shtick about building a wall.

Donald Trump

Last week, in a rare display of humanity, Donald Trump was asked what he would do about the current opiate crisis from a father who lost his son to an overdose.

The man told Trump, "I lost my son two years ago to a heroin overdose," at a rally in Iowa, after the Thursday night debate. Trump responded by asking whether the man was from Iowa; the man responded that he was from upstate New York, a region that, like the rest of America, has seen a recent uptick in heroin overdoses.

"Well, you know they have a tremendous problem in New Hampshire with the heroin. Unbelievable,” Trump said morosely. “It's always the first question I get, and they have a problem all over. And it comes through the border.” A perfect segue for Trump to plug his grand scheme which we’ve all heard a thousand times.

"We're going to build a wall, number one, we're going to build a wall, and it's going to be a real wall." Trump continued, saying heroin is "pouring across" the border. He vowed to "stop that drug traffic because heroin is really tough."

If one is to take Trump’s word for it, the wall will not only keep out illegal immigrants but also illegal drugs? What Trump ought to know, is that those who traffic drugs have never been deterred by a secure border. They’ve used drones to drop drugs. They’ve used trebuchets to sling bales of marijuana over a fence. They’ve even used submarines. How is a wall going to stop them?

Trump then discussed the toll addiction takes. "Because they say once you get hooked, it's really tough. In all fairness to your son, it's a tough thing. Some very, very strong people have not been able to get off it," he said.

Trump displayed sympathy for the father, whom he then consoled after a dramatic pause.

"You just relax, OK? Yeah, it's a tough deal. Come on. It's a tough deal. What we have to do is, we have to make sure that they don't get hooked because it's a tough thing," he said. "And I know what you went through."

"And he's a great father, I can see it. And your son is proud of you. Your son is proud of you," he went on. "It's tough stuff, it's tough stuff, and it could be stopped. And the best way, you know, the best way to stop it is upfront before it happens, because once they start taking it, they say it's brutal."

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.