The Troll Presidency Takes Another Pointlessly Cruel Action

There is so much news happening in the last 24 hours that it feels like drinking from a fire hose. Others like our own Martin Longman can analyze the situation around Lev Parnas better than I can—and it’s a very busy weekend for me, so apologies in advance. But I would be remiss not to highlight one of the more minor stories of the day that might otherwise escape attention, if only because it puts in sharp focus the pointless, petty cruelty of this administration.

The Trump Administration decided to roll back the amount of fruits and vegetables given to school children. This is obviously terrible, so why do it? Well, because it was a Michelle Obama initiative, that’s why. Why do it now? It was Michelle Obama’s birthday.

No, seriously.

The Trump administration moved on Friday to roll back school nutrition standards championed by Michelle Obama, an effort long sought by food manufacturers and some school districts that have chafed at the cost of Mrs. Obama’s prescriptions for fresh fruit and vegetables…

Combating childhood obesity was Mrs. Obama’s signature issue, a rallying cry for her supporters and a lightning rod for conservative critics who saw it as epitomizing the liberal “nanny state” of the Obama era.

The administration says, of course, that it was just a coincidence and not intentional:

A spokeswoman for the department said that it had not intended to roll out the proposed rule on Mrs. Obama’s birthday, although some Democratic aides on Capitol Hill had their doubts. Food companies applauded the proposal, while nutritionists condemned it, predicting that starchy foods like potatoes would replace green vegetables and that fattening foods like hamburgers would be served daily as “snacks.”

Sure. The folks at Red State are certainly celebrating it as an act of aggressive trolling. So even in the unlikely event it wasn’t intentional, Trump’s base is reveling in the meanness of it nonetheless. Which is further astonishing since…don’t some of these people also have kids who go to public schools? Certainly they must. Do they not care about their own children’s health? Apparently not as much as scoring a point against their hated political opponents.

It’s just another reminder that we don’t actually have a government. We have a cult of grievance orchestrated by a cable news network for bitter, angry bigots with a cruelty streak.

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David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.