New York AG launches new anti-Trump lawsuit over changes to Michelle Obama-backed school lunch rules
Letitia James, now New York's attorney general, speaks in New York City in this 2017 file photo. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images)
New York state Attorney General Letitia James announced a multi-state lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday claiming it illegally weakened federal nutritional standards for school lunches backed by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The lawsuit, which was brought by New York, California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington D.C., was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The states argue that the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) rollback of sodium limits and whole-grain requirements for school meals “lacks legally-mandated scientific basis” and “was adopted without public notice and opportunity to comment.”
“Over a million children in New York – especially those in low-income communities and communities of color – depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” James said in a statement. “The Trump Administration has undermined key health benefits for our children – standards for salt and whole grains in school meals – with deliberate disregard for science, expert opinion, and the law. My office will use every tool at our disposal to fight back against these shameful rollbacks and ensure our children are protected.”
The National School Lunch Program is a federally subsidized program that provides students with healthy balanced meals in schools at low – or no – cost, according to the New York attorney general’s office.
The lawsuit adds to a slew of investigations and legal actions against Trump by James. James, in December, vowed to continue investigations started by disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and successor Barbara Underwood into Trump and his organizations, including probing real estate deals and looking into “anyone” in his inner circle who could have violated the law.
Underwood previously brought a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, alleging illegal conduct and “unlawful political coordination” to benefit Trump’s personal and business interests. That suit, in December, forced the Foundation to dissolve.
“We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” Letitia James told NBC News in an interview last year. “We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law."
In addition to investigations into Trump's personal business dealings, James vowed to investigate any government subsidies Trump may have received and whether he has violated the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.