The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is set to receive a failed White House drug policy appointee for a similar position, at a time when the opioid crisis has spread to urban Black communities.
Taylor Weyeneth will focus on opioid policy in HUD’s office of Community Planning and Development, Politico reported. But he’s hardly qualified for the position. Weyeneth had skyrocketed from a Trump campaign aide to a White House liaison for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. However, Weyeneth, 24, was removed from the senior post in January after it was revealed that he lied on his resume and had no professional experience in any job.
Bringing Weyeneth to HUD is more evidence of a total disregard for the growing opioid crisis in urban Black communities. While heroin addiction in Black communities is new, the drug is now often laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. President Trump, responding to his White rural base of support, declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October. Consequently, White communities are getting the attention and resources. As usual, there has been a lack of concern for Black lives in this new drug epidemic.
Nationwide, opioid overdose deaths are increasing the fastest among African Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington, D.C., overdose deaths among Black men between ages 40 and 69 increased 245 percent from 2014 to 2017.
HUD, which touches the lives of scores of Black people, appears to be a White House dumping ground for unqualified Trump loyalists. Ben Carson’s leadership of the department has been a disaster. He recently stated that his job at HUD has “more complexities than brain surgery.” It’s unlikely that anything of value for public housing residents will come from Weyeneth. He may just decide, at some point, not to show up to work as he did at a previous position where he was dismissed.