02:17 - Source: CNN
Trump gets personal in anti-drug message

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Fred Trump Jr. struggled with alcoholism for much of his life

He died in 1981 at age 43

Washington CNN —  

President Donald Trump personalized his anti-drug message on Thursday at the White House, discussing how his elder brother’s struggle with addiction led him to never drink or smoke.

Fred Trump Jr. struggled with alcoholism for much of his life and died in 1981 at age 43. Trump has cited his brother’s short life when pushing for tougher drug enforcement and awareness and did so again on Thursday.

“I had a brother, Fred. Great guy, best-looking guy, best personality, much better than mine,” Trump said. “But he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol, and he would tell me, ‘Don’t drink. Don’t drink.’ He was substantially older, and I listened to him and I respected (him).”

The comments came as the President declared a nationwide public health emergency to combat the opioid crisis.

Ever since his brother’s warning, Trump said, he has abstained from drinking and smoking because he had “somebody that guided me” in that aspect of life.

“I learned because of Fred,” Trump said. “I learned.”

Trump made fighting the opioid epidemic a key aspect of his 2016 campaign and regularly said he understood the battle with addiction from watching his brother struggle.

During a New Hampshire roundtable before Election Day, Trump told the group about his brother’s struggle with alcohol, a fight that eventually killed him. And some voters in New Hampshire told CNN at the time that they were motivated to vote for Trump because of his comments about his brother and pledge to fight opioid abuse.

“He seemed like he cared,” Erin Canterbury, a longtime Democratic voter who backed Trump in New Hampshire in 2016, said earlier this year.

In stressing the need for early intervention on Thursday, Trump said it would be “really, really easy” to stop young people from taking drugs if the government convince them young. To do so, Trump said, he would back a “really tough, really big, really great advertising” campaign to convince young people.

“One of the things our administration will be doing is a massive advertising campaign to get people, especially children, not to want to take drugs in the first place because they will see the devastation and the ruination it causes to people and people’s lives,” Trump said.