In another display of how grossly misplaced Republican priorities are, the Trump administration is moving to repeal the school lunch nutrition guidelines that former First Lady Michelle Obama established in her crusade against childhood obesity. The guidelines were among the First Lady’s most important policy victories — and to add insult to injury, the announcement was made on her birthday.
The Trump administration announces plans to roll back Michelle Obama's school lunch healthy rules on her birthday.
Trump Remains Relentlessly Obsessed With Obama. https://t.co/6muT6KXgln pic.twitter.com/zTM7tT74ZP
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) January 17, 2020
The USDA and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue claimed that they were restoring choice to the schools “because they know their children best,” but in reality were handing the junk food industry a huge payday, cutting out healthy fruits and vegetables in favor of potatoes and pizza.
The new standards are the next steps for the Trump administration to fully roll back Michelle Obama’s lunch standards, a process that began in 2017 and immediately earned condemnation from the American Heart Association. CEO Nancy Brown argued that Michelle Obama’s standards had already shown results and had been applied in 99% of American schools:
“Improving children’s health should be a top priority for the USDA, and serving more nutritious foods in schools is a clear-cut way to accomplish this goal. Rather than altering the current path forward, we hope the agency focuses more on providing technical assistance that can help schools get across the finish line, if they haven’t done so already.”
Michelle Obama and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was the first significant change to the school lunch program in over thirty years. The act mandated nutrition standards aimed at providing children with healthier lunches and to help curb the epidemic of childhood obesity which affects one in five American kids.
The school lunch program is also the only meal that some American children will see all day. 13 million American kids struggle with hunger, and the nutrition in the school lunches is critically important for their growth and development.
But the well-being of children – after they’ve been born, that is – has never been a priority for Republicans, who are likely looking for ways to trim the budget so they can use that money to pay for tax breaks for the rich. To do it so on Michelle Obama’s birthday is clearly just an act of spite against a First Family that the President cannot stop attacking.