The Trump administration has been busted for “deliberately” lying about the poverty levels in America in order to promote their tax cuts. The United Nations had filed a report estimating that over 18 million Americans are living in “extreme poverty” and that the Trump administration’s tax cut for the rich will make that number “deliberately” worse.
The White House insisted that the U.N. was “exaggerating” with their report.
But, according to internal State Department emails and documents obtained by Foreign Policy and the non-profit journalism website Coda Story, the Trump administration knowingly lied to the public about the severity of the poverty in America to discredit the U.N.
Infuriated by a scathing United Nations report estimating that over 18 million Americans are living in “extreme poverty” and accusing the Trump administration of “deliberately” making such destitution worse with its tax cuts for the rich, the White House insisted in its June response to the U.N. analysis that the United States is overflowing with “prosperity” and that claims of widespread poverty are “exaggerated.”
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston described the move as “shocking.”
According to Foreign Policy, officials who were consulted on the White House’s rebuttal of the U.N.’s findings “questioned the accuracy of the data the administration was citing.”
The Trump administration drastically lied about the number of people suffering from extreme poverty. They cited a report by the right-wing Heritage Foundation that claimed that only 250,000 Americans are living in extreme poverty, which is a drastic contrast from the U.N.’s conclusion that the correct number is 18.25 million.
“What is your source for stating material hardship is down by 77 percent since 1980?” Trudi Renwick, an economist at the Census Bureau, wrote in an email questioning the Trump administration’s rebuttal to the U.N.
This is not as dramatic as Trump's tweets or bald-faced lies at press briefings. But in a way it is far more insidious; the contempt for facts is pervasive and maddening. https://t.co/IzCPt3ioz8
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) August 3, 2018
The Trump administration irgnored an advice from an economic adviser who urged the White House to “not get into” America’s steady economic growth, writing: “Already 8-9 years long… which started under Obama and we inherited and then expanded. But it will end prob[ably] in 1-2 years.”
An official from the Council of Economic Advisers claimed that a line in the White House’s response that claims workers’ salaries are rising was false. “Wages haven’t really picked up, other than for supervisors,” they claimed.
But, Mari Stull, a senior State Department adviser, attacked the U.N.’s report and gave a statement that many describe as ridiculous.
“Based upon my own experience, my sons are destitute poor and living off the welfare state of Mom—so guess they contributed to the ‘youth poverty’ crisis in America,” Stull wrote.
U.S. diplomat and vice president of humanitarian policy at CARE, Bathsheba Crocker, called Stull’s comment “unbelievable” and wrote that it demonstrates once again the “contempt” the Trump administration has for poor Americans.
US whitewashed, falsified facts to respond to UN report on poverty in US. Unbelievable quote from Mari Stull of @State_IO, showing contempt of Trump admin to reality of life for poor people. Sad what’s become of @State_IO, @USUN, @usmissiongeneva. https://t.co/v0sTUCaWcU
— Bathsheba Crocker (@shebacrocker) August 2, 2018