The Trump Administration’s Four Most Heartless Statements About the Budget

Cutting Meals on Wheels “is one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

Andrew Harnik/AP

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Today, the Trump administration released its preliminary 2018 budget proposal, which would eliminate 19 federal agencies and gut a wide array of programs aimed at helping the working poor and the unemployed. At the same time, Trump’s budget calls for a major increase in defense spending and spending billions on the construction of a border wall.

At a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney did little to alleviate the impression that the most vulnerable would suffer under these budget cuts. “You described this as a ‘hard power budget.’ Is it also a hard-hearted budget?” asked CNN’s Jim Acosta. “No, I don’t think so,” Mulvaney responded. “I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

Yet compassion was in short supply as Mulvaney tried to explain the administration’s budget priorities. Here are four of his most heartless statements:

Meals on Wheels doesn’t work. A reporter asked Mulvaney about proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program, which would lead to cuts on Meals on Wheels in some states. He responded that the program, which feeds elderly people, and ones like it are “just not showing results” and “don’t work.”

Afterschool programs for hungry kids don’t work. Mulvaney said that afterschool programs that feed low-income kids don’t help them do better in school. “There is no demonstrable evidence they are actually doing that,” he claimed.

Fighting climate change is a rip-off. “We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mulvaney said. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”

Starvation and famine? Yawn. Another reporter asked Mulvaney about the administration’s plans to reduce spending on the United Nations and foreign aid, despite famine and starvation facing 20 million people—a “humanitarian crisis,” according to the UN. “Are you worried that some of the most vulnerable people on earth will suffer?” the reporter asked. “We’re absolutely reducing funding to the UN and to the various foreign aid programs,” Mulvaney said. “That should come as a surprise to no one who watched the campaign.”

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And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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