ATLANTA — Right after President Donald Trump landed in Atlanta to attend the eighth annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot was the only local reporter to speak one-on-one with the president on several issues impacting Georgia.
Even before his keynote speech at the summit Wednesday, Trump told Elliot that he's going after doctors and pharmaceutical companies to combat the opioid crisis.
The president also said he expects to carry the state when he runs for reelection next year.
“I love the state, and I guess they like me, because I’ve done well from the beginning,” Trump told Elliot.
Trump won Georgia in 2016.
Democrats have made gains in the state in the past two election cycles, but the president doesn’t think Georgia is ready to turn purple yet.
“I think it’s in play only for us in the upcoming election, to be honest with you. I know, (Sen.) David Perdue is going to be running, and I’m running, and we’re going to do very well,” Trump said.
But with Democrats raising more money in Georgia than they have in years, the state could still become a political battleground for the president and other Republican candidates.
The president and first lady were in Atlanta to attend the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.
The opioid crisis hit Georgia hard and the state joined other states in filing lawsuits against some pharmaceutical companies.
Trump said his administration is cracking down on those companies and he hopes there will soon be alternatives to opioid medication.
“What the doctors can do -- you know, opioid is prescriptions, and it's doctors and it's pharmaceutical companies, and they’re getting a little nervous now because we’re coming after them, and what they were doing is just terrible,” Trump said.
Elliot also asked the president about the delay in federal aid for South Georgia farmers still suffering seven months after Hurricane Michael.
Trump blamed congressional Democrats.
“A lot of that money goes to farmers, and that’s what we’re doing, and David Perdue is working very hard, and I’m working very hard, but they’re trying to hold us up, but it’s not appropriate,” Trump said.
The president was in Atlanta for only about two to 2 1/2 hours before reboarding Air Force One to go back to Washington.
Channel 2 Action News worked for three days to get the one-on-one interview, which the president agreed to Wednesday morning.
Elliot and photojournalist Dante Tinsley were embedded with the president all day from the minute he left Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and were the only local news crew to do so Wednesday.
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