Throughout his candidacy and now presidency, Donald Trump has continuously called out alcoholism as a personal topic for him and his family. The Commander-in-Chief openly admitted that his brother, Fred Trump, lost his life because of excessive drinking and now he hopes to educate others with an annual donation to the cause.
Speaking to the press earlier this month, Trump exclaimed that he will now be donating $100,000 of his $400,000 presidential salary to alcoholism research. The rest of his annual income will reportedly go towards Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration and the National Park Service.
Trump has claimed that because of his brother’s premature death, he has never touched alcohol and never will. His hope, apparently, is that the six figure sum will be put to good use as an annual contribution to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which happens to be a branch of the National Institutes of Health.
“I don’t drink beer,” Trump told reporters while on the campaign trail. “I’ve never had a beer. And I’m not saying good or bad, some people like it. I just choose not to do that for a lot of reasons.”
One of his biographers, Tony Schwartz, told the press that Fred Trump’s death at age 43 had a major impact on his younger brother. Apparently Donald saw the damage it caused firsthand and made a conscious effort to avoid contact with liquor, beer and wine.
“I think Freddy’s journey sparks fear in the president,” Schwartz explained. “It’s a tragedy in their family’s history, and both of those things make him very uncomfortable around people with a drinking problem. I truly think he’s scared of the effects alcohol can have on people because he witnessed firsthand how it destroyed his brother’s life.”
Obviously President Trump can be a polarizing figure, but we do applaud this effort to bring recovery to the forefront. The NIAAA is a notable organization that works to educate U.S. citizens on the dangers of alcohol abuse, as well as provide research that can hopefully lead to scientific breakthroughs. It also works to de-stigmatize alcoholism on a national level and reaches out to high schools and colleges to prevent underage drinking.
Hopefully a movement like this is a step forward from Trump’s administration when it comes to recovery efforts and combating addiction. Previously the president has spoken out publicly about the country’s opioid crisis, but according to many, the White House still has a long way to go.