Christie Finally Has a White House Gig

NJ governor will be leading a drug addiction task force, but not a 'permanent role'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2017 12:17 PM CDT
Christie, Trump Launch Drug Addiction Task Force
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens as President Donald Trump speaks during an opioid and drug abuse listening session, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

After being unceremoniously dropped from President Trump's transition team, Gov. Chris Christie is dipping his toes into the administration as he takes the lead of a White House commission to combat drug addiction, the AP reports. On Wednesday, Christie and Trump will host an opioid and drug abuse listening session to formally kick off the effort. It's a familiar setting for the governor, who has made fighting heroin and prescription drug abuse a centerpiece of his administration. He spoke extensively about the issue during his own presidential bid and has dedicated his final year in office to addressing the drug crisis. Last month, he signed legislation that limits first-time opioid prescriptions to five days' worth of drugs and requires state-regulated health insurers to cover at least six months of substance abuse treatment.

Christie says he has "no interest in having a permanent role" in the Trump administration at this time, but that the president asked him to spearhead efforts to combat opioid and drug abuse as he completes his term as governor. Christie has been working behind the scenes with the White House on the issue for months. The commission is being rolled out as part of a new office led by Jared Kushner, whose father Christie prosecuted in his former role as US attorney. Christie, who had lunch with Kushner on Tuesday as part of his discussions about the administration's policy, downplayed reports of tensions between the two. (More Chris Christie stories.)

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