Former Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is taking heat for falsely suggesting most Americans who use Medicaid or food stamps are "siting on the couch" and not working when they could be. In reality, the majority of food stamp and Medicaid recipients are children, seniors, or those with disabilities.
"We shouldn't be paying people to sit on the couch and adding to the rolls of welfare," Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina currently running for president told Fox Corporation"s Neil Cavuto Thursday (video below), as she advocated for strong cuts in spending.
"This is going to have to be harsh," Haley insisted. "It's going to take a president that is going to call out Republicans and Democrats. I did that as governor. I’ll do it again as president."
She also insisted cuts to so-called entitlement programs must happen but targeted "kids in their 20s," saying, "those are the ones that need to go and know that things are going to be changed."
"It's the new ones coming in," Haley continued, explaining her plan to dramatically scale back the social safety net. "It's those in their twenties that are coming in. You're coming to them and you're saying the game has changed. We're going to do this completely differently. That's how you go and you focus on it."
"We've got to start doing things like that. But more than that, we have to look at the fact that there is a spending problem in DC and Republicans and Democrats have done this to us," she insisted. "Don't forget that when this all started, with the Republicans, they passed a $2.2 trillion COVID stimulus package 419-6 in the House and 96-0 in the Senate that expanded welfare. Now we have 90 million people on Medicaid. You've got 42 million people on food stamps. We should be taking people from welfare to work."
But Haley did not mention that the vast majority of Americans on programs like Medicaid and “food stamps” are not eligible to work. They are children (which Republicans are increasingly seeing as a source of labor), seniors, and those living with disabilities.
Haley also did not mention that 74% of Americans who are recipients of "food stamps," also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are categorized as the “working poor.”
Another group that is working yet struggles to eat? U.S. service members. In January the Military Times, pointing to several studies including from the Rand Corp. and the Dept. of Defense reported that about on quarter of America’s troops are food insecure.
Haley's remarks were highly-criticized.
"Just to pick one company," Helen Kennedy, a former journalist and frequent political commentator said to the former governor on Twitter, noting, "more than 14,000 people who work at @Walmart are also on food stamps because that company pays as little as possible. Walmart’s gross profit for 2022 was $143 billion. Maybe look at the big guy, not the little one."
Russell Drew, a frequent political commentator on social media blasted Haley as the "leader of the Republican Party's Grey Poupon wing."
"She has proudly succeeded Mitt Romney. She's one week away from talking about 'welfare queens in Chicago.'"
"Most non-disabled Medicaid participants of working age are, in fact, working," noted professor of politics, Dr. John Pitney, Ph.D.
Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison slammed Haley: "The only thing lazy is this idiotic statement from Nikki Haley! Just because you are poor doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. There are a lot of elders who don’t have big pensions & 401ks but receive food stamps. Medicaid expansion has provided healthcare for millions of workers."