POLITICS
01/22/2018 07:10 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2018

Trump's Deputy Drug Czar Is A 24-Year-Old With A Flimsy Work History

Taylor Weyeneth was fired from a law firm in 2015 for not showing up to work.

A 24-year-old appointed to a top position in the White House drug policy office has come under scrutiny in recent days for his scanty résumé and lack of qualifications.

A new Washington Post report reveals that one of Taylor Weyeneth’s few previous jobs ended ignominiously. Weyeneth was “let go” from a New York law firm in 2015 because he didn’t show up to work, the paper reports.

Weyeneth was appointed last year as deputy chief of staff of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP, which coordinates federal drug-control efforts, and questions have recently been raised about his fitness for the role.

Prior to his work for the Trump administration, the only job he’d held since graduating from college in 2016 was working on President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Post reported earlier this month. As a high schooler, Weyeneth worked for a family firm that processed health products; and as an undergraduate, he had a job as a legal assistant at the New York law firm O’Dwyer & Bernstien. 

The Post’s new exposé over the weekend reported that Weyeneth had fudged details in the résumé he submitted to the government, including the length of time he’d spent at the law firm and as the vice president of his college fraternity. 

Weyeneth was “discharged” from O’Dwyer & Bernstien for failing to come to work, a partner at the firm, Brian O’Dwyer, told the paper. He “just didn’t show,” O’Dwyer said.

Weyeneth has been reassigned to “administrative work,” following questions about his background, the Post reported, although he continues to hold the title of deputy chief of staff. A replacement as the office second-in-command is being sought, the paper said.

ONDCP didn’t immediately answer HuffPost’s request for comment.

The reports about Weyeneth have emerged as the opioid epidemic, which Trump declared a public health emergency in October, continues to escalate. Politico reported this month that “virtually nothing of consequence has been done” by the White House to address the crisis, despite Trump’s promises to tackle the “scourge of addiction.”

In fact, the Trump administration is allegedly planning to slash the ONDCP budget by 95 percent, Politico reported. 

Last week, 10 Democratic senators signed a letter excoriating Trump for hiring Weyeneth, and for his failure to adequately tackle the opioid crisis.

“You have claimed that the opioid epidemic is a top priority for your administration, but the personnel you have staffing these key agencies ― and the lack of nominees to head them ― is cause for deep concern,” said the lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “This crisis knows no bounds, and we are committed to working across party lines with anyone who is serious about addressing this devastating epidemic.”

As the Associated Press notes, ONDCP has no permanent director

CORRECTION: A previous version misspelled Sen. Maggie Hassan’s last name.

HuffPost

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