Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took aim at first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to hold school lunches to a higher nutritional standard. The presidential candidate told Iowa children that french fries would return to their cafeteria trays if he is elected president.
During campaign stops in Iowa on Jan. 30-31, during one last concerted effort to win the Iowa caucus, Cruz was introduced by his wife, Heidi, before speaking to the crowds, according to BuzzFeed News.
Cruz said he had a message to “all the school-aged kids” attending his rallies.
“When Heidi’s first lady, french fries are coming back to the cafeteria!” Cruz promised. “The last I checked the cardboard was supposed to be on the tray and not in the food!”
Michelle Obama has made curbing childhood obesity rates her most passionate cause during her husband’s presidency. She worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to introduce the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, creating nutritional standards in schools cafeterias, ThinkProgress reports.
Childhood obesity rates have doubled over the past 30 years, leading to a litany of health problems. An August 2015 survey conducted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation found that 80 percent of Americans support healthier school meals for students.
“Our children are healthier because of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” said American Heart Association government relations manager Kristy Anderson. “We know that the more children are exposed to nutritious foods, the more they accept and like eating healthy -- and it sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.”
Michelle Obama’s initiative has not been particularly popular among children. On Jan. 18, an 11-year-old Nebraska student named Jacob Royal asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if he would improve school lunches, CBS News reports.
“They were fine when Mrs. Bush was the First Lady but now that Mrs. Obama is the First Lady they have gone down,” Royal said.
“Doesn’t the president of the United States have anything better to do than to worry about you are having for lunch?” Christie asked.
“Let me tell you this, I don’t care ... I think that this intervention into our school system is just another example of how the Obamas believe that they’ve got a better answer for everything than you do.”