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NYT Falsely Reports Trump Admin Blocked Puerto Ricans From Using Food Stamps for Hot Meals

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BY: Alex Griswold

The New York Times falsely reported earlier this week that the Trump administration was blocking food stamp recipients in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico from using the federal subsistence to eat hot meals.

On Tuesday, the Times reported Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló complained, “the federal government had denied a request to allow hurricane victims in Puerto Rico who use food stamps to redeem them at fast-food restaurants and other places that serve prepared hot meals.”

“He [Rosselló ] said he was pursuing the issue with federal officials and was hoping the waiver would come soon,” the Times reported.

But after the piece had already been up for 24 hours, it was updated to admit the claim was inaccurate.

Though Mr. Rosselló said on Tuesday that the federal government had denied a request to allow hurricane victims in Puerto Rico to use food stamps at fast-food restaurants and other places that serve prepared hot meals, officials at the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the federal nutrition program, said they sent a letter to Puerto Rico on Sept. 30 approving a waiver that would allow food-stamp recipients to use their benefits to buy hot food. The agency granted similar waivers following hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

A correction beneath the piece now acknowledges the error: “Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the status of a request from Gov. Ricardo Rosselló that the federal government grant a waiver permitting hurricane victims in Puerto Rico to use food stamps at fast-food restaurants.”

“The Department of Agriculture granted the waiver on Sept. 30; it was not still pending on Tuesday,” the correction reads.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue called attention to the correction on Twitter.

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