Donald Trump

Trump Takes Credit for Food Aid in Letter to Needy Families. Sound Familiar?

The president has been criticized for politicizing aid as the election draws closer.

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The news, as it tends to be, has been dominated by President Donald Trump over the last several days, perhaps even more so with his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, which means one recent Trump tidbit largely flew under the radar: his requirement that billions of dollars in food aid packages for the needy arrive in tandem with a letter signed by him.

"As President, safeguarding the health and well-being of our citizens is one of my highest priorities," the letter reads, referencing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's $4 billion Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The initiative has purchased food typically bought by restaurants and rerouted it toward poor families, with over 100 million boxes sent since May. "As part of our response to the coronavirus, I prioritized sending nutritious food from our farmers to families in need throughout America."

Reactions have not been uniformly positive, with some characterizing the letter as an overtly politicized election stunt. "In my 30 years of doing this work, I've never seen something this egregious," Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, told Politico. "These are federally purchased boxes."

Some food banks have begun removing the letters. Meanwhile, several people appear to be receiving the aid and corresponding letter even though they aren't underserved. "Why would someone receiving this really need to know this?" said Matthew Killen of Miami Beach, who is not in need but received a package of food on his doorstep, according to The Miami Herald. He lives in a majority Hispanic neighborhood, which he feels the administration "targeted" so Trump could "win [the] area."

Readers might remember a string of similar criticisms leveled at former President Barack Obama during the 2012 election after the "Obamaphone" video went viral. "Everybody in Cleveland—low, minority—got Obamaphones," says a woman who had shown up to protest at a Mitt Romney rally. "Keep Obama in president [sic]. He gave us a phone. He's gonna do more."

In reality, that controversy was a farce. Under the spotlight was the Lifeline program, which provides subsidies for communications to eligible low-income recipients. The catch: It was implemented in 1985 during the Reagan administration, and the Obama administration had sought to reform what was seen as a program plagued by massive fraud. The changes reportedly saved $213 million in 2012.

That didn't get in the way of a semi-popular claim, however, that Obama was passing out phones for votes. "She may not know who George Washington is or Abraham Lincoln," opined radio host Rush Limbaugh, "but she knows how to get an Obamaphone." Former Rep. Adam Putnam (R–Fla.) had more pointed words: "Early vote now so that you can wave signs on election day next Tuesday," he said. "We've got to drag people to the polls. That's what they're doing. You don't have to offer them cell phones like they're doing."

The Trump administration denies that his food aid work was at all politically-motivated. "Politics has played zero role in the Farmers to Families food box program," the Department of Agriculture said in a statement. "It is purely about helping farmers and distributors get food to Americans in need during this unprecedented time."

Trump similarly attached a letter to the stimulus checks doled out as part of the government's coronavirus relief program, though that was a bipartisan measure negotiated through Congress. The two programs have something else in common, though: They are the very types of "socialist" policies that many right-wingers usually condemn, a la "Obamaphones."

NEXT: Jo Jorgensen Beating the Polling Spread in 4 States; Each Voted for Trump in 2016

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  1. Translation, Democrats angry that Trump’s stealing their thunder by claiming credit for aid before they can.

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    2. Democrats angry that Trump takes credit for not allowing food to go to waste, as they had planned to show full dumpster bins outside farm distribution hubs as evidence that Orange Man Bad.

  2. Shocked! I am shocked to learn that a politician would take credit for political purposes! Shocked, shocked I say!

    1. Extree Extree read all about it.

      You might get that Pulitzer yet Billy.

      1. Now if it was Obama who dun it, Billy, the party and the legacy media would be scrambling over each other to give him the credit. No need for Barack to bother taking it for himself.

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  3. >>The president has been criticized for politicizing aid as the election draws closer.

    lol mis-phrased “I criticize” there, Katie … some say

    1. Some say a teenage Billy buggered Violet, the neighbor’s Golden Lab.

      Billy has been criticized for lying about his athletic ability.

      Sources say Billy likes to steal.

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  4. This spate of “Trump is politicizing votes … govt largess … what next?” articles is stupid. San Francisco lowering the voting age to 16 is politicizing the vote. Vote by mail, motor registration, photo ID to vote, ALL POLITICIZE THE VOTE.

    Fuck. Stop acting surprised and offended that any politician is politicizing anything the government does.

    EVERYTHING GOVERNMENT DOES IS POLITICIZED.

    Maybe you ought to look up where “politics” and all related words come from.

    1. Politics, it came from the Greek word meaning many and was coupled with “tics” a blood sucking, disease ridden insect.

  5. “Why would someone receiving this really need to know this?”

    Just give them the content-free and ad-free free stuff, don’t bother them with details

  6. Incumbent politicians claiming to be responsible for everything good that happens, and their challengers are trying to paint them as the reason everything isn’t as it should be–here in the United States of America in an election year no less?!

    I never thought we could sink to this.

    Actually, this is a ridiculous article. I don’t know if it’s an insult to our intelligence or whether it suggests that this Binion’s first rodeo–either way, “ridiculous” is the word of the day here at Reason.

    P.S. Did you know Al Gore invented the internet?

    1. According to his bio page, he wrote for HuffPo, and judging by his picture, is about 12 years old.

      1. Someone needs to tell that passive voice is for pussies.

      2. It also says he has written for the Washington Examiner.

    2. The first time this happened in my lifetime was when Nixon was running for re-election. Back then increases in social security was not indexed to inflation but rather had to be done through legislation. Nixon told the democratic congress he wouldn’t accept more than a three percent increase. Congress passed a six percent increase with Nixon threatening to veto it. He signed it and when the checks went out in October just a month before the election, he included a letter telling seniors about the increase and how he signed it into law.

    3. Remember all those shovel ready jobs that Obama took credit for including having it stated on the signs posted along side those shovel ready job locations

      1. Do you have any idea how many children’s lives the city dog catchers of this country have saved since they were elected to that office?

        Billions!

        Listen to them when they’re running for election. If it weren’t for them, all the children in town would have died of rabies 20 times over.

        This is how people campaign.

  7. I’m the one paying for all of this. Can I include a letter?

    1. I doubt you paid your fair share.

    2. Not all of it. I’m “contributing” too.

  8. 4 weeks left, with voting already started.

    For anyone keeping score at home, the headlines at Reason since Monday morning include 12 critical of Trump and 0 critical of Biden with an honorable mention for the 2 critical of Whitmer. Only one headline mentioning the Libertarian party candidate. CJ even included an article 3 months late in the writing, just to pile on Trump.

    Reason seems pretty much committed to ineffectually criticizing the Democrat/Socialist agenda of Biden for the next 4 years at this point.

    1. Oh, God, not again.

      Every day, sometimes twice a day, Trump does some crazy, idiotic, newsworthy thing. Biden doesn’t. That’s why Trump is being covered more.

      1. Elbo want moar sozialism!

      2. Or, perhaps, the media simply does not cover Biden’s shenanigans with the same type of obsessiveness, and thereby creates the impression that Biden is not doing anything newsworthy.

        If they do not report on it, that means it does not exist.

      3. It’s tough to do anything newsworthy when your handlers keep you locked in your basement.

      4. Biden’s handlers are calling a lid by 10 am almost every single day and with only a month until the election.
        That’s extraordinarily newsworthy.

    2. That the Trump campaign strategy. Get the media to cover you non stop so you don’t have to pay for ads.

      1. No publicity is bad publicity when your egomanical goal is to be the topic of every conversation, the groom at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

        1. Elbo mad! Trump not die like elbo wanted!

          1. Forget you meds today?

            1. Did you forget that you were trolling and have yet to add anything remotely constructive to the dialogue? Troll behavior deserves ridicule and scorn.

              “Chuck made fun of elbo. Now Elbo is sad!”

              1. Who’s sock is Albo? Jeff again?

              2. Are you LDS Chuck? If you don’t answer I’ll assume you’re a COWARDLY Mormon who needs to die.

                Snd all the mormons to the gas chambers!

                1. It’s not funny, Sqrls. Just kinda sad.

                  1. I’m not Sqrls. If he isn’t Mormon then he has nothing to worry about. If he is he takes the rantings of a pedo con artist as gospel. Mormons are trying to ruin this country. I’m a goddamn patriot. Some acknowledgement of that every once and a while would be nice.

  9. He knows he’s gonna lose, so he’s in “let’s wreck everything before we have to go” mode. I’m sure the White House will be such a wreck that he’s not going to get his deposit back.

    1. Better count the silverware.

      1. considering it all had to be replaced after the clintons took it with them

    2. Let’s just say your theory wasn’t the work of some bizarre, crack addled monkey gibbering away in your head- how is sending letters to people in any way going to wreck shit?

  10. “In my 30 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen something this egregious,”

    Really, not “if you like your doctor” or “we will be treated as liberators” ?

    1. Really, not crashing airplanes into buildings as a political statement?

      1. I was going with things our former elected leaders who proceeded him did but yes flying planes into buildings is by far the most egregious act I can think of in this century.

        1. I saw where you were going, but really, that woman has no creativity if the leader of the Executive branch sending a letter with food boxes is the ‘most egregious’ thing she can come with. Does she think yellow cake is food?

  11. The commentators seem to be missing the point that the administration is using federal money to assist in his re-election. This is illegal and indefensible.

    1. Reach harder.

    2. TIL every Democrat campaign in my lifetime has been illegal and indefensible.

    3. Would that be the cost of the paper the letter was written on or the cost of the kleenex that Pelosi used to wipe away her salty tears?
      (wastefully, I might add. She should bottle them and send to needy Trumpista orphan children)

    4. You called it, molly. It is beyond indefensible! It is barbarous and uncivilized and bordering on treasonous! The patriotic opposition should initiate impeachment proceedings. They could tie it in with Russian collusion somehow.

      1. Everything Trump does is in the image of puppetmaster Putin.
        Remember the picture Trump had taken of himself riding shirtless on a horse to deliver the food boxes?

    5. Local politicians send letters after potholes are filled and someone picks a leaf off the ground. Is that not keeping you informed, as much as self-promotion for the next election?

  12. I always got a chuckle when President Obama bragged about bringing peace to the Middle East.

  13. “The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk’.” ~ Harry Browne

    Trump ramps up every simmering at a seven on a 1-10 scale failing of government about which we libertarians have long been complaining to a Trumpily insane eleven.

    “Trump Takes Credit for Food Aid in Letter to Needy Families.
    Trump similarly attached a letter to the stimulus checks doled out as part of the government’s coronavirus relief program, though that was a bipartisan measure negotiated through Congress. The two programs have something else in common, though: They are the very types of ‘socialist’ policies that many right-wingers usually condemn, a la ‘Obamaphones.'”

    Trump is Obama’s third term.

    1. In a normal year where there’s no election we would agree that stimulus spending in the trillions is wrong. But this year is not normal, and we don’t want Trump to lose. The worse option is Biden and Cameltoe. If that means doling out some checks so be it. I know Biden and his bootlickers are going to be bad for us. Whereas with Trump it’s not perfect but we get more supreme court picks and stack the deck in lower courts as well.

      1. > If that means doling out some checks so be it.

        If that means bigger ObamaPhones, so be it!
        If that means we have to out Democrat the Democrats, so be it
        If that means we have to out socialist the socialists, so be it!

        How can we win if our pork isn’t fattier than their pork? Vote for the greater evil or the lesser evil will win!

        1. “How can we win if our pork isn’t fattier than their pork? Vote for the greater evil or the lesser evil will win!”

          And if against all odds and reason Trump does win, we know that Trumpulus will move to the front burner again.

          Trumpulus is an even more “biggly” piggly Porkulus.

          Trump is Obama’s third term, as if it were on the powerful steroid dexamethasone.

      2. Who is this we Kemosabi?

    2. So why all the criticism?

  14. How much of an ego does the man have that he insists his signature accompany every single box of food aid? What chutzpah!

    He’s setting new lows for the Biden administration to achieve. “But Trump did it first!”

    1. If even one delivery truck overturned, you’d blame Trump. Why should he not take credit for a successful use of food that would otherwise end up in a dump?

  15. “It is purely about helping farmers and distributors get food to Americans in need during this unprecedented time.”
    Is anybody buying this bullshit? Oh wait, Sevo is!
    I gave some loose change to a homeless person once then I quickly called everyone I know to tell them about how good of person I had become.

    1. “I gave some loose change to a homeless person once then I quickly called everyone I know to tell them about how good of person I had become.” Now you sound like a Lefty.

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