About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump said the country’s deadly opioid epidemic was a “national emergency” and promised to file the paperwork to make that official. But so far that hasn't happened.
On Aug. 10, Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, that he planned to draft documents to make the official declaration of a national emergency, which would provide states and federal agencies with more resources and power to combat the opioid problem.
A White House spokesman told The New York Times that any such emergency actions are going through “an expedited legal review,” but it is unclear how long the review will take.
Usually, when a president makes a public pronouncement of a national emergency, a formal declaration happens simultaneously. But action requires that formal declaration, which the Trump administration has not made. And it's nowhere to be found on a list of presidential actions on the White House website.
Trump told reporters the opioid crisis is indeed a “national emergency” after a White House commission set up to study the problem issued an interim report in which its top recommendation was that the president declare the crisis a national emergency.
However, Trump’s decision came just two days after Tom Price, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the United States has the resources to address the opioid epidemic without declaring a national emergency.
It wasn’t clear what had caused the president’s abrupt reversal, but some Democrats had criticized him for not taking the step and said that, despite campaign promises, he was doing little to address the crisis.