UN poverty official: Trump exacerbating inequality

UN poverty official: Trump exacerbating inequality

The United Nations's monitor on poverty is ripping President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE's policies, accusing him of driving the U.S. down a path that rewards the rich and punishes the poor. 

UN special rapporteur Phillip Alston warned that Trump's actions in office are likely to drive up income inequality and push more people into poverty, according to The Guardian.

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“This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty,” Alston said. 

“If food stamps and access to Medicaid are removed, and housing subsidies cut, then the effect on people living on the margins will be drastic," he added. 

Alston said the Americans who already struggle to make a living now face "ruination" due to the prospect of losing access to health care. Some, he warned, could face "severe deprivation" of food. 

His final report on extreme poverty in the U.S. was published on Friday and will be presented to the U.N. human rights council later this month. The report is based on findings from Alston's tour through some of America's poorest communities. 

Alston blasted Trump and Republican lawmakers for the tax-cut law enacted in December, saying that “the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege." 

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump tweets, rally chant dominate Sunday shows as president continues attacks Sunday shows - Fallout over Trump tweets Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' MORE (D-N.J.), who is seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, told The Guardian that the report is “disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising." He added that this report should be viewed as a reason to commit to jobs guarantees, health care for all and assistance for ex-prisoners trying to reintegrate into society. 

In addition to tax cuts, Alston's report criticizes work requirements for welfare recipients and proposed cuts to the food stamps program. He singled out a proposal from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson that would triple the rent for Americans on housing assistance. 

“This is an across the board attack on those who are living on the poverty line or below it,” Alston said.