Nation

Oklahoma leaders blast food-stamp remark

OKLAHOMA CITY — The chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party apologized Tuesday for a post on the party’s Facebook page that said giving people food stamps is akin to feeding animals in national parks, marking the new leader’s latest misstep over divisive comments.

Party chairman Randy Brogdon said on Facebook that the post was intended to illustrate the cycle of government dependency. He apologized ‘‘for any misconceptions that were created.’’

The original message, posted Monday, said 46 million Americans participate in the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, or SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps. The post then said the National Park Service encourages people not to feed wild animals because they ‘‘will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’’

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The post concluded: ‘‘Thus ends today’s lesson in irony.’’

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About 604,000 people receive SNAP benefits in Oklahoma, mostly the elderly, disabled, and children.

The post, which was removed Tuesday, also drew immediate criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

‘‘It is not a representation of the party as a whole and it makes the party look uncaring,’’ said state Senator Stephanie Bice, a Republican.

Sheree Powell, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, called the post ‘‘shameful.’’

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‘‘It was insensitive and uninformed. If they had even bothered to ask what the reality of poverty looks like . . . they wouldn’t have made that kind of post,’’ she said.

Associated Press