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Officials: Trump visit to Manchester next week 'very likely'

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 13. 2018 10:13AM




MANCHESTER — City officials confirmed Monday that a visit to Manchester next week by President Donald Trump appears “very likely,” after recent conversations with Secret Service personnel.

Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan said the possible visit by Trump would likely involve a firsthand look at the city’s Safe Station program, and could include an appearance at a city fire station on Monday, March 19.

“I’m pretty confident he’s coming,” said Goonan. “I’m not sure where and what time, I haven’t been notified of any itinerary at this time, but we will be speaking with Secret Service this week about a possible visit.”

Staff at Mayor Joyce Craig’s office said Monday they are aware of rumors of a possible visit, but the mayor has yet to be contacted by anyone connected with the Trump administration or Secret Service regarding a potential visit.

Goonan said typically local officials aren’t given much lead time ahead of a presidential visit, which could explain the lack of any specific details regarding time and location just one week out from the rumored visit.

A meeting between Secret Service officials and city police regarding the possible visit is expected to be held later this week, Goonan said, and more details may be available after that meeting.

The White House Opioid Summit earlier this month included a video featuring Goonan discussing the city’s Safe Station program, which transformed the Queen City’s 10 fire stations into intake centers, where addicts head for help without fear of being arrested.

In the video, which appears on the official White House Facebook account, Goonan reports a 30 percent reduction in Manchester’s overdose death rate in 2017 — 64 overdoses down from 90 — stating he feels Safe Station has been part of that life-saving progress.

“We’ll help you, we’ll get you into treatment. If you want treatment, we’ll give you a shot at treatment 100 percent of the time,” Goonan says in the video.

President Trump referenced Manchester’s Safe Station program during an appearance on national television in October, then invited Goonan to attend a news conference in Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t get much notice on that appearance either,” said Goonan. “I got a couple days ahead, asking if I could go down there. That’s how these things seem to go.”

pfeely@unionleader.com


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