Florida's Republican governor pledged to be 'fighting' President Joe Biden's Agriculture Department after it proposed the new rule imposing anti-discrimination policies for LGBTQI Americans
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Ron DeSantis says Biden is ‘totally off his rocker’ over claims administration is threatening to pull school lunch money if they don’t adopt LGBTQ policies

  • Florida’s GOP governor criticized the president in a Sunday news conference
  • He’s reacting to an early May rule change by the Department of Agriculture that could stop federal food dollars going toward programs without LGBTQI policies
  • Those programs, like public schools, are required now to explicitly state that their policies protect against anti-LGBTQI discrimination
  • Republicans have claimed that means Biden will take food assistance money away from states that have imposed limits on transgender youth
  • DeSantis’ criticism comes after South Dakota’s GOP governor, Kristi Noem, threatened to sue the Biden administration over the rule change 

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday said President Joe Biden is ‘off his rocker’ after critics claimed the White House is trying to take federal school lunch dollars away from districts that don’t adopt LGBTQI-friendly policies.

‘We’re prepared for what Biden throws our way,’ DeSantis said during a press conference on his newly-passed state budget. ‘Yes, part of it’s the inflation and the gas.’ 

‘Part of it are intentionally destructive policies’ as well, ‘like trying to deny school lunch programs for states that don’t do transgender ideology in the schools.’

Biden’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced early last month that it would crack down on federal food dollars going to state and local governments that are not in line with the White House’s anti-LGBTQI discrimination policy.

Specifically, entities that get money from the federal government’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) – which includes public schools – will have to update their policies to specifically ban discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. 

They’re also required to investigate allegations of such discrimination.

It came after more than a dozen states passed laws targeting transgender youth, such as requiring students to use bathrooms and participate on sports teams that are in line with their assigned gender at birth.

‘I mean, give me a break,’ DeSantis fumed. ‘Totally off his rocker to be doing that.’ 

Florida's Republican governor pledged to be 'fighting' President Joe Biden's Agriculture Department after it proposed the new rule imposing anti-discrimination policies for LGBTQI Americans

Florida’s Republican governor pledged to be ‘fighting’ President Joe Biden’s Agriculture Department after it proposed the new rule imposing anti-discrimination policies for LGBTQI Americans

 ‘We’re fighting on that, don’t worry. So we’re just prepared to be able to defend the taxpayers and the hardworking people in the state of Florida.’ 

In addition to laws on trans participation, Florida also made headlines earlier this year with the controversial law that critics have dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ 

It prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom in kindergarten through third grade as well as limits on what is not ‘developmentally appropriate’ for older students. 

Biden previously traded verbal blows with DeSantis over the state's controversial 'Don't Say Gay' law, formally the Parental Rights In Education bill

Biden previously traded verbal blows with DeSantis over the state’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, formally the Parental Rights In Education bill 

FNS, the agency in the USDA’s May rule change, is responsible for government-run food benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the national school lunch and breakfast programs. 

The agency said its proposal ‘in line with the USDA’s efforts to promote nutrition security,’ according to a statement on the USDA website.

It cited statistics that show nearly a quarter of transgender individuals suffer from food insufficiency, compared to just over eight percent of cisgender people.

‘USDA is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity,’ Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

‘A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.’

He continued, ‘At the same time, we must recognize the vulnerability of the LGBTQI+ communities and provide them with an avenue to grieve any discrimination they face. We hope that by standing firm against these inequities we will help bring about much-needed change.’

DeSantis’ outrage comes after his fellow Republican leader, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, threatened to sue the Biden administration over the rule last week.

‘President Biden is holding lunch money for poor Americans hostage in pursuit of his radical agenda,’ Noem said to the Argus Leader on June 2.

‘He is insisting that we allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports or else lose funding for SNAP and school lunch programs.’

Noem vowed: ‘South Dakota will continue to defend basic fairness so that our girls can compete and achieve.’ 

Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior also blasted the update in comments to Fox News.

‘For the federal government to come in and really tie school nutrition and school lunch programs to this radical ideology is terrifying, and it’s appalling,’ he said. 

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