The Georgia Senate candidate who suggested children work to get free lunch at school is standing by his comments, arguing they did not target any particular income group.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) on Friday told CNN’s “New Day” that he should have clarified his comments suggesting schools that subsidize students’ meals make those students work for a free lunch.
“Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money,” Kingston said at a Jackson County Republican Party meeting, according to video surfaced by the Huffington Post. “But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
The congressman told CNN that his comments weren’t a “policy statement,” and complained about a lack of open discussion on the matter.
“This is not targeted to any one group,” Kingston said. “It would be very helpful for kids in any socio-economic group to do chores and learn the work ethic. Those kids aren’t there because of any fault of their own and I never suggested that they were.”
“I never did say poor kids,” he added.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.