In an interview published this week, President Donald Trump opened up about what he has described as a formative part of his life: witnessing the life and death of his older brother, Fred Trump Jr., killed at 42 from a heart attack linked to alcoholism.
Speaking with The Washington Post, the president said his brother’s heavy drinking had given him a empathetic view of the challenges of addiction, which he said he has brought to the White House in combatting the opioid epidemic.
“I don’t know what I’d be working, devoting the kind of time and energy and even the money we are allocating to it,” he said, adding, “I don’t know that I’d be doing that had I not had the experience with Fred.”
Experts have said the administration’s response to opioid addiction is a positive, including adding funding, though he has lacked a larger plan, according to The New York Times.
The president’s brother, “Freddy,” as he was known, struggled with his family’s expectations, the Post reported after interviews with his friends and associates. His drinking habits seemingly worsened along with the pressure to embrace his family’s up-and-coming business ventures.