New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied telling another member of the president’s opioid commission that President Trump would be dealing a harsh blow to his presidency if he doesn’t deliver on promises to address the opioid crisis.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent — who authors the liberal-leaning The Plum Line opinion blog — reported comments from Patrick Kennedy, a member of the president’s opioid commission that Christie helms. 

Kennedy, a former Rhode Island Democratic congressman who is now a mental health and addiction advocate, reportedly said that Christie confided in him his thoughts on Trump and the opioid epidemic. 

“Christie doesn’t mince words,” Kennedy told The Washington Post. “He said, ‘If he doesn’t recognize this as the issue of our time, his presidency is over.’ ”

On Twitter, Christie fired back that the comments attributed to him were “false,” saying “I speak for myself on this issue.”

(1/2)The comments attributed to me today in WaPo by Congressman Kennedy are false. I speak for myself on this issue. Let me be very clear.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 23, 2017

(2/2)I know that POTUS supports fighting this epidemic aggressively. In the days ahead, his actions will speak louder than anything else.”

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 23, 2017

This comes as Trump said he plans to officially declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. This was the “first and most urgent” recommendation in an interim report from the commission Christie leads and Kennedy is a member. The commission is now working on a final report due Nov. 1.

In The Washington Post column, Kennedy said he was worried that the president might not follow through on a robust response to combat the epidemic of prescription painkillers and heroin plaguing the country.

“The worry is that it won’t be adopted,” Kennedy told the newspaper, referring to the commission’s final recommendations. 

In mid-August, Trump said his administration was drafting paperwork to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, which would be new terrain for the federal government as this declaration hasn’t been made for a long-term issue like drug abuse.

The administration hasn’t offered details of what the emergency could look like and whether it will involve new funding — or a request for Congress to appropriate new dollars.

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