Trump's most callous spokesperson wasted no time going after the poor.
After a lengthy golf vacation and a lavish for-profit New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump immediately set the tone for 2018 by sending White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Fox News to target the most vulnerable Americans for political attack.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, Conway discussed some of Trump’s policy priorities for the new year, and “welfare reform” was at the top of her list.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade noted, perhaps accidentally, the salient point that welfare reform doesn’t have a prayer of passing the Senate without Democratic support, which it won’t get.
“The House has an order, and they say ‘Let’s do welfare reform. Let’s do food stamp reform,'” Kilmeade said. “Senate says ‘No, we have barely a majority. I’m not going to be able to get that done.'”
Both Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have long made clear their intentions to go after social safety net programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare, but Kilmeade’s observation makes clear what this push is really about.
Yes, Ryan has been “dreaming” about hurting the poor since his college days, but without a closer margin in the Senate, this push can only signal that Trump and the Republicans intend to target the poor during the 2018 midterm campaign. Welfare reform, particularly food stamps, have long been a staple of racist Republican dogwhistle politics, despite the fact that most recipients are white, and most families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) already work.
Divisive and racist politics are a major ingredient in Trump’s appeal to his base, but if 2017 is any indication, they will be rejected in 2018 by a voting public that is awake to this toxic presidency and its cruel policies.