Pennsylvania Representative Tom Marino, who many believed was President Trump's choice to become the next “Drug Czar,” is no longer in the running for that position. Numerous White House sources had reported that the staunchly anti-marijuana Congressman was in line to be nominated to lead the White House Office on Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and was in the process of filling out the required paperwork. Now, a White House official has claimed that Marino is suddenly no longer a candidate.
The source did not explain why Marino was no longer under consideration. However, the head of the ONDCP must be approved by the Senate, which has led to speculation that issues from Marino's past may have prevented him from passing the required Senate hearings. In 1998, it was alleged that Marino, in his former occupation as an elected county prosecutor, hand-delivered a request to a judge to clear the criminal record of a cocaine-dealing friend.
Last night, Marino issued an official statement on the issue:
“Due to a critical illness in my family, I have, with regret and the utmost respect, informed the White House that I must withdraw my name from consideration for Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I thank the President for the enormous honor of considering me for this lead role in the effort to address one of the most pressing issues facing our nation and my state today: the opioid epidemic. I will remain in Congress and continue to support President Trump in whatever way I can.”