- President Donald Trump appeared not to understand how grocery shopping, or any kind of retail shopping, works at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday.
- Trump said that if “you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture,” but this isn’t true for buying standard groceries.
- Trump mentioned grocery shopping to make the case for voter ID laws, which he supports.
- It comes alongside his unfounded belief that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, which a 2017 investigation failed to prove.
President Donald Trump appeared not to understand how grocery shopping — or any kind of retail shopping — works at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday.
Trump, who has long alleged that millions cast votes illegally in the 2016 presidential election, made the case for requiring voters to show picture ID at polls by saying that basically all retail transactions require picture ID.
“You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture,” said Trump at a rally supporting GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial bid.
How you actually buy groceries
In the US, retail transactions rarely require ID. Shoppers paying with a check or card may have to produce ID, though this is largely done at the retailer’s discretion.
Purchasing tobacco, alcohol, fireworks, or firearms (which are sometimes available in grocery stores) also prompts an ID check if the shopper appears visibly below certain broad age thresholds. For example, a shopper who appears under 40 years old may have to show ID to buy cigarettes.
But tobacco, alcohol, and explosives don’t meet the common definition of groceries. The US government, when issuing food stamps, essentially government money for groceries, takes measures to ensure they’re spent on foodstuffs, rather than age-restricted goods.
How you actually vote
In 2017, Trump launched an investigation into illegal voting which concluded in early 2018 with no significant findings. A 2012 Pew study found millions of out-of-date voter registrations, but no evidence of voter fraud.
From the National Conference of State Legislatures:
“A total of 34 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, all of which are in force in 2018… The remaining 16 states use other methods to verify the identity of voters.
“Most frequently, other identifying information provided at the polling place, such as a signature, is checked against information on file.”
Voter ID laws, frequently championed by Republicans, have been described by critics as a tool to disenfranchise populations with poor access to government services.
Campaigners against voter ID laws say they disproportionately affect minorities and poor populations, often discouraging, or prohibiting them from voting.
Online, Trump’s apparent failure to grasp how grocery shopping takes place became a joke for several prominent White House reporters who gravitated towards a central question: When, if ever, has Trump bought groceries?
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