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Trump's 'Drug-Infested Den' Remark In Transcript Angers New Hampshire

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is taking umbrage at President Trump's apparent characterization of his state as "a drug-infested den." And not surprisingly, he isn't the only one who's angry.

The remark was contained in a transcript published Thursday of a telephone conversation between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Discussing the flow of drugs on the southern U.S. border in a conversation from the Oval Office on Jan. 27, Trump told his Mexican counterpart: "We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy."

"I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den," Trump reportedly said.

(Note: While Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary, he lost the state in the general election).

As NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben noted: "The Trump administration is, for now, being reticent about the leaked transcripts. National Security Council spokesperson Michael Anton told NPR that he 'can't confirm or deny the authenticity of allegedly leaked classified documents.' "

Regardless, New Hampshire politicians and ordinary citizens took a dim view.

Sununu, in a statement, acknowledged his state's drug problem, but insisted that "the President is wrong."

"It's disappointing his mischaracterization of this epidemic ignores the great things this state has to offer," the Republican governor said.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party seemed to think the governor had pulled his punches, not going far enough.

And Democratic lawmakers from the state lined up to fire back at the president.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in a pair of tweets, was blunter than the governor. The Democrat said Trump's remarks in the transcript are "absolutely unacceptable," and that he "owes NH an apology."

" ... then [he] should follow through on his promise to Granite Staters to help end this crisis," Shaheen wrote.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan tweeted that it was "disgusting" and accused the president of proposing policies "that would severely setback our efforts to combat this devastating epidemic."

Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said on Facebook that the president had "failed to help us fight the opioid crisis."

And more than a few Granite Staters weighed in on Twitter, with several simply tweeting pictures of New Hampshire's verdant landscape and the hashtag #druginfestedden.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.