The Oklahoma Republican Party is apologizing for a post that appeared to compare food stamp recipients to animals. The post - made on Facebook - says the food stamp program gives meal to 46 million people, it continues with quote...
"The national park service... Administered by the US Department of the Interior, asks us 'please do not feed the animals.' their stated reason for the policy is because 'the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.'"
Tuesday, the response was widespread on social media. Local democrats weighed in on the post, those who run the SNAP program, and even those who get SNAP benefits themselves.
“I don't feel like it's a handout. It's something that I need. Without the food stamps, I probably wouldn't be eating,” said Bobbie Vann.
The 63-year-old says she's thankful for the help.
Vann is a member of one of the largest groups of food stamp or SNAP recipients in Oklahoma... Senior Citizens.
That's why DHS says recent comments posted to the OKGOP's Facebook page are concerning.
“Comparing Oklahoma's, hungry Oklahomans to animals is absolutely appalling. Imagine your elderly grandmother, your parent, someone who has worked their entire life. Or a disabled veteran who's fought for his county or a child who goes to an empty fridge to compare those people to animals that is appalling. It's disgusting,” said Mark Beutler.
The post first appeared on the official page for Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page Monday night. While some commended it, others took offense.
One post said "For a number of years my wife and children were on welfare. If you were ever in the position to need those programs you would know they were a god send."
Another said, "This is inappropriate and mean spirited. Poor taste."
“My first reaction was wow,” said Connie Johnson.
She’s the vice chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
She says there are so many myths about the SNAP program, many relating to those looking to abuse the system.
“We are at a 15 year decline in the fraud in the SNAP program, most of that is on the commercial side, it's not on the consumer side so what are they talking about,” she said.
The Oklahoma GOP posted an apology this afternoon.
“It read in part....this post was supposed to be an analogy that compared two situations illustrating the cycle of government dependency in America, not humans as animals.
“We believe that 'free market principles are the best to stimulate our economic development rather than government subsidies or programs' and I was doing my best to echo that view.
Again, I apologize for any misconceptions that were created.”
The apology was made by the party chair, Randy Brogdon.
We tried to get him on camera today, but were told he was unavailable.