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- A top Trump appointee in the Office of National Drug Control Policy will step down after The Washington Post revealed the 24-year-old’s lack of experience and misrepresentations on his resume.
- Taylor Weyeneth has no experience with drug policy, government service, or law, unlike his predecessors in previous administrations.
- The office’s lack of experienced senior staffers raises questions about the administration’s effort to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.
A 24-year-old serving in a top position in the Office of National Drug Control Policy will step down at the end of the month, following a recent Washington Post investigation revealing his lack of experience and misrepresentations on his resume.
Taylor Weyeneth, who became an aide on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign after completing his undergraduate degree at St. Johns University in Long Island, joined the ONDCP shortly after the election and quickly rose to become its deputy chief of staff.
In its investigation, The Post found that Weyeneth misrepresented his work at a law firm, where a supervising attorney said he “just didn’t show,” indicated that he had a Master’s degree from Fordham University, even though administrators say he did not complete his coursework there, and misrepresented his time serving as the president of his fraternity.
The Post also found that Weyeneth’s stepfather pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge last year after his company, Nature’s Chemistry, was found to have secretly processed illegal steroids. Weyeneth indicated on his resume that he was the “Director of Production” at the company for several years during high school and college, but his mother told The Post he was unaware of the conspiracy.
Weyeneth has no experience with drug policy, government service, or law, unlike his predecessors in previous administrations, which is striking given that his office is tasked with crafting the Trump administration’s policies regarding illicit drugs and leading its response to the opioid epidemic, which President Trump declared a national public health emergency. More than 42,000 people died in 2016 from opioid-related overdoses.
“Mr. Weyeneth has decided to depart ONDCP at the end of the month,” Raj Shah, a White House press official, said Thursday.
At least seven of the office’s appointees have departed in recent months, including the general counsel and acting chief of staff – roles that Weyeneth helped fill.
Rep. Tom Marino, Trump’s first pick to lead the office as the nation’s “drug czar,” removed himself from consideration after a joint Washington Post-CBS News investigation found that Marino took almost $100,000 from the pharmaceutical industry while introducing legislation that would have weakened the Drug Enforcement Agency and made it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across the country.