Donald Trump’s habit of going off script during his campaign rallies often leads to bizarre statements, but few have been as puzzling as his pronouncement at a Tampa, Fla., rally this week that Americans need an identification card to purchase groceries.
Trump was trying to make the case for voter identification cards, but his remark about grocery stores went viral because of its strangeness. Nowhere in the United States do you need an id card to buy groceries.
So why did he go there?
Press Secretary Sandra Huckabee Sanders tried to walk back the remark by claiming the president was actually referring to buying alcohol at a grocery store. An ID is required because the drinking age is 21 in most states.
But there was a place where IDs were once required to buy groceries– the Soviet Union, better known today as Russia.
In a stunning photo that is going viral, former Soviet resident Irina Anderson produced a copy of her grocery ID from “my Soviet life” back in the 1990s. The Soviet Union collapsed and became the Russian Federation in 1991.
As Americans, you need identification, sometimes in a very strong and accurate form, for almost everything you do…..except when it comes to the most important thing, VOTING for the people that run your country. Push hard for Voter Identification!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018
“Ok folks,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “This is my actual ‘shopper’ ID from my Soviet Life (1990). By presenting it, I was given monthly allotment of grains, sugar, flour, vodka etc. No ID – no groceries.
“Now you know where trump gets his ideas…” she wrote.
The coincidence is chilling. It strongly suggests that Trump is getting his talking points from a Russian source, who might think grocery IDs are any everyday occurrence in other countries.
Would that be Vladimir Putin? The Russian president was an officer in the KGB, the Russian spy agency during the Soviet era. He would know about grocery IDs.
Trump met privately with Putin in Helsinki last month. No recordings were made of their conversation. But it’s possible they discussed a number of U.S. domestic issues, including voter suppression, in which the idea of voter IDs came up.
Voter identification laws are spreading rapidly around the country, mostly in Republican controlled states, according to The Washington Post.
Before 2006, no state required photo identification to vote. Today, 10 states require specific IDs and 33 states — representing more than half the nation’s population — require some sort of voter identification.
On their face, voter IDs seem like a plausable idea to make sure someone is registered to vote and not impersonating someone else. But voter IDs have been weaponized in some states to suppress turnout in areas with a high minority population.
In one of the most blatant cases, the state of Alabama suppressed black votes by requiring voter IDs from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Then, it announced plans to close DMV locations in eight out of 10 predominantly black counties.
Like Irina said, no ID, no groceries. Or in this case… no ballot.
The rise in voter ID laws comes at the same time Trump’s much ballyhooed commission on voter fraud failed to find any evidence of widespread fraud. Trump has repeated claimed, without evidence, that up to 3 million people voted illegally.
Now, the president’s Freudian slip at his Florida rally, suggests he’s taking marching orders from a foreign power. You can’t just explain that away.
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