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Today the Trump administration announced its proposal to serve fewer vegetables and more fries and pizza in school lunches.
The timing of the announcement to roll back the guidelines, which were created at the initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama under her Let’s Move! healthy living campaign, immediately struck people as suspicious. Today is Obama’s birthday.
Some schools and food manufacturers, as well as children, educators, and parents, have long complained about the rules as expensive and wasteful. So the change, which was announced by the Agricultural Department, may have been merely addressing such complaints.
“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals,” Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, said in a statement. “We listened and now we’re getting to work.”
Conspiracy-minded folks felt that the move was more about Trump’s desire to undo the Obamas’ legacy and that choosing to do so on Michelle Obama’s birthday was just the cherry on the proverbial sundae. Many criticized the proposal’s potential to worsen the childhood obesity epidemic.
As ever, Trump supporters applauded the plan to feed children fewer green vegetables and more starch and saturated fats.
“Making school lunches great again!” said Michael Dorstewitz.
“Who the heck is Michelle Obama to tell schools what they can serve kids for lunch? And so what if it’s her birthday? Happy birthday! Now pass the burger and fries,” tweeted Dinesh D’Souza.
People who think schools should serve healthy food pushed back.
Just got the WaPo Breaking News Alert that says the Trump admin wants school menus to allow more pizza & potatoes & fewer veggies & *it’s not an accident* that it’s Michelle Obama’s birthday.— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) January 17, 2020
Sorry the FLOTUS who’s Black wanted America’s kids not to stroke out at age 12.
Personally I'm very upset hearing about school lunch shaming. Can you imagine? 🤔 Trump golf's at a cost of millions.. Wants to steal billions from Pentagon for a wall. But America 🇺🇸 won't provide children with free quality school lunches.— 🦅 Sher' 🦅 🆘 (@cherokeesher2) January 17, 2020
I just told my 10 year old about Trump wanting to take away fruits and veggies at school and add more pizza and potatoes and she started breathing heavy, cracked her knuckles and said, “that’s IT! I’m ready to fight!”.— Michelle (@SoSofieFatale) January 17, 2020
It popped up on my phone and I "WTFed?!" out loud at work.— Weasels4Lunch 🐈 (@Cats4Lunch) January 17, 2020
My best guess is that it has to do with Michelle Obama. He just can't stop himself slapping down every thing they touched, regardless of the consequences.
Now he is attacking reforms by Michelle Obama. His hatred of them knows no bounds and he will use anything and anyone, including children, to attack them! Kids are not pawns. They deserve a healthy lunch!😠— Deb Hodges (@debhodges1413) January 17, 2020
May be it was all the healthy food in the Obamalunch that made Owen gay and not obama-care ,, WOW— Kranz_is_Resisting (@therealkranz) January 17, 2020
On Michelle Obama's birthday...— John Davidson (@hoopsnut) January 17, 2020
The need to undo anything that relates to his predecessor is remarkable. Even if it is as simple as going against the advice of every parent to ever pack a lunch.
We live in a time of the astoundingly shallow. https://t.co/skCVqAd1KA
It was a waste of money. Kids threw the food away.— Suzanne (@MayKelly) January 17, 2020
It’s probably because Michelle Obama started the program. He’s going to put Melania in charge and you get a breast augmentation and a Botox injection for lunch! Big Macs for morning recess.— Harliegh (@harlieghg) January 17, 2020
Trump admin announces repeal of Michelle Obama's school lunch guidelines on her birthday https://t.co/ea6kjysEnU BREAKING: There could be no coincidence that the president obsessed with destroying the Obamas' legacy took aim at the former First Lady on her birthday. pic.twitter.com/EWz48lHbrR— OD Action (@ODAction_News) January 17, 2020
Because Michelle Obama had the nutritious school lunch agenda.— SMSass (@SMSass0) January 17, 2020
Public comment on the proposed changes begins on Jan. 21.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.