Riegel: Something didn’t add up with Donald Trump’s holiday message

      In a Christmas message issued by the White House over the recent holidays, President Donald Trump called on Americans to follow the example of Jesus Christ by coming together and fostering “a culture of deeper understanding and respect.”

    “Was this for real?” writes Business Report Editor Stephanie Reigel in her new opinion piece. Or was it a mad midnight tweet, a Christmas covfefe?

    Consider that while Trump, who has exploited our basest instincts for political gain, was calling on us to be our highest and best selves, his administration was preparing to implement new regulations that will severely restrict the ability of the nation’s poorest adults to receive food stamps. 

    The new rules, which go into effect in April, will tighten existing work requirements of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. As a result, some 700,000 adults nationwide may be kicked off the food stamp rolls.

    This is no small thing, particularly in Louisiana, which is one of the poorest states in the nation and has benefitted from the waiver the new rules would do away with. As many as 90,000 people in this state alone stand to lose their benefits should the rules survive a court challenge. 

    While the narrative that these changes will force those who are allegedly “lazy” and “gaming the system” to find work has been propagated by the administration, there’s no reason to think that cutting off someone’s food assistance will make it easier for them to secure gainful, steady employment.  

    Also while the White House was waxing wistful about the need for greater understanding and respect, more than 4,500 asylum-seeking refugees were spending the holiday season behind bars in rural Louisiana prison facilities. These are not undocumented migrants who snuck into this country illegally, by the way. Rather, they presented themselves at the border, as is their right under our constitutional law, seeking protection. 

    It would be such a blessing for the new year if the president’s wishes for greater understanding and respect were heartfelt and sincere, but considering his administration’s actions, it doesn’t add up. Read Riegel’s full column here. 


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