Jason Chaffetz really is bothered by seeing poor people with smartphones, and he’s using social media to spotlight his point.
The former congressman-turned-Fox-News-contributor posted a photo on Instagram showing a homeless man in New York streaming a video on his phone. The post was a continuation of a theme Chaffetz has been pushing since March, when he was still in the U.S. House representing Utah and said lower-income Americans shouldn’t buy smartphones if health care is so important to them.
Chaffetz’s post aroused the ire of many followers, who criticized him for heartlessness and “contempt for the poor.” Others pointed out that there is no comparison between the cost of a cell phone and rent in New York City.
Enough people griped that Chaffetz felt chastened enough to attempt to clarify his rationale for posting the picture:
“I posted this pic to make people think. I stated just the facts. It is sad and I want to help, but the decades old “war on poverty” is not working. As a conservative we must address these issues with compassion, open minds, innovative solutions, and a true desire to help. Liberals can yell and scream but they are not working to solve the problem. Conservatives, let’s take a deep breath and help those in need help themselves.”
Shortly before Chaffetz, 50, left office at the end of June ― and started at Fox News the next day ― he suggested that members of Congress should get a $2,500 monthly stipend to cover housing costs in Washington on top of the $174,000 annual salary most of them receive.