President Donald Trump went off script during a press conference Thursday to relate the somber story of his brother, who died of alcoholism in 1981 at the age of 46.
During a White House event addressing the opioid crisis, the president detailed how he had watched his brother slowly become addicted to alcohol and how he had “learned” from his brother’s “very tough” life. Trump cites the example of his brother Fred as the reason why he has never touched alcohol.
“I had a brother, Fred. Great guy, best-looking guy, best personality, much better than mine, 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, but he would constantly tell me, ‘Don’t drink.’ He’d also add, ‘Don’t smoke,’” Trump said.
“To this day, I’ve never had a drink. And I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it to this day, I’ve never had a cigarette,” Trump said. “I had somebody that guided me and he had a very, very, very tough life because of alcohol, believe me,” he continued. “He was a strong guy but it was a tough, tough thing that he was going through, but I learned because of Fred.”
Trump declared the opioid crisis in the U.S. a public health emergency and said it is time for the government to address the problem “head-on.”