Michelle Obama made her toughest political intervention after leaving the nation’s White House Friday, bluntly stating during a conference on health: “Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap.”
One of the previous First Lady’s legacies included an effort to combat childhood obesity. In early May, Trump’s administration froze regulations that were implemented to reduce sodium and increase the amount of whole grains being served in meals at schools around the nation.
“We have a lot more work to do, for sure, but we’ve got to make sure we don’t let anybody take us back because the question is, where are we going back to?” Obama said to the audience at a Partnership for a Healthier America’s Washington summit.
“This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. You have to stop and think: why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?”
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Obama’s remarks prompted applause and cheers from the hotel ballroom, which was completely packed.
Appearing to be liberated from the restrictions of her former official role, Obama seemed passionate, feisty, peeved and combative.
She demanded: “And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on? You know, now that’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation. Like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be OK with that?”
“Because here’s the secret: if somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid, and we need to demand everyone to care deeply about kids. That’s all we have. So we should be driving this and every elected official on this planet should understand: don’t play with our children. Don’t do it.”
Along with delaying the announcement of nutrition standards in school lunches by Sonny Perdue, the United States agriculture secretary, Trump’s administration also postponed regulations that would instruct grocery stores, restaurants, and other venues to put the calorie amounts directly on menus.
A riled Obama went on to say: “‘You shouldn’t know what you’re eating.’ Think about that. Stop there, think about that. ‘You shouldn’t know what you’re eating.’ You’re OK with that? Do you know people who are OK with that? I mean, I just find myself thinking, this isn’t my fight, you know, this is where you’ve got to look yourself in the eye.”
“We need to look our neighbours in the eye and kind of go: ‘What is going on?’ Because this just isn’t that complicated, you know. Just tell me what’s in my food. Why is that a problem? So you have to ask yourself, what’s going on, because I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.”