Everyone in Santa Barbara is rightfully proud of aid organizations like the Unity Shoppe for its essential work offering food, clothing, and other resources to families in need. I do not want this letter to imply anything else but admiration. Yet, in these exceptionally difficult times, it is stunning to read that one of the top local donors to Donald Trump’s campaign is Barbara Tellefson, president of the Unity Shoppe.
Since taking office in 2016, the Trump administration has relentlessly slashed every single social assistance program under federal auspices, all but “defunded” states’ resources for the poor, decimated the staffs of federal departments helping the poor, public schools, and other socially oriented areas, pressured states to reduce Medicaid grants and abandon the Affordable Care Act, and, above all, stigmatized the working poor while slashing taxes on the super rich.
If the Unity Shoppe is needed more than ever today it is specifically because of Donald Trump. I won’t speculate about the inherent contradictions in Ms. Tellefson embrace of such a cruel, spiteful, and illiterate man as Donald Trump, but this is not a matter of simple political disagreement. If Trump gets re-elected he will feel free go after Medicare, Social Security, and the gamut of American social programs. Her support of Trump’s extremist view of America is a stain on this fine organization.