In June, a United Nation’s report confirmed what many know to be true: the United States is a country whose privileged thrive on the misery of its most vulnerable and that its glossy promises of prosperity are accessible only to a few.
Moreover, this U.N. report cited some bleak facts to solidify its point. What was most notable about the report was its damning accusation that the Trump administration, with it cuts to healthcare and taxes for the rich, was “deliberately” worsening the situation in the country.
Responding to the report, the White House issued a rebuttal calling into question the validity of the statistics cited in the U.N. report and said that the report’s claims regarding poverty were “exaggerated”.
While the U.N. report said that 18.25 million Americans lived under extreme poverty, the White House rebuttal placed the number at somewhere around 250,000. The statistics were pulled from a report by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing thinktank.
Now, internal State Department emails obtained by Foreign Policy have unraveled the propaganda the Trump administration spun around the issue. The emails disclose that the Trump regime knew that their claims were false and could be refuted by data, yet it chose to mislead the people of America.
In this regard, Trump ignored the advice of White House economic analysts and knowingly lied to Americans. According to Foreign Policy, officials who were consulted for the rebuttal "questioned the accuracy of the data the administration was citing." Trudi Renwick, an economist at the Census Bureau, was one them.
"What is your source for stating material hardship is down by 77 percent since 1980?" Renwick wrote in an email addressing the Trump administration's rebuttal to the U.N. It is unclear whether he received a response and White House decided to use these very statistics.
Another official warned WH against extolling the “new era of economic growth” under Trump, saying that the growth was "[a]lready 8-9 years long... which started under Obama and we inherited and then expanded. But it will end prob[ably] in 1-2 years." His advice was also ignored.
However, some officials advice and reservations were used to modify the document.
"Wages haven't really picked up, other than for supervisors," an official from the Council of Economic Advisers pointed out after receiving an early draft of the report that said the workers' salaries were rising. "This triggers the left—best to leave it off."
The line was deleted from the final document.
Not all advisers had objections to raise about the report. Marie Stull, a senior State Department adviser, used a rather bizarre line of reasoning to discredit the UN report as “propaganda”.
"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.
Bathsheba Crocker, a former US diplomat and vice president of humanitarian policy at CARE, responded to this statement in a tweet.
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
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters