Mick Mulvaney gets schooled about diabetes after saying it's caused by poor lifestyle choices

Mick Mulvaney is being slammed for insensitive and inaccurate comments about diabetes from a group that studies it

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 15, 2017 4:16PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The American Diabetes Association is teaching Mick Mulvaney, who serves as head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Donald Trump, a valuable lesson about human biology.

On Thursday, Mulvaney told an audience at the Light Forum at Stanford University that people who get diabetes may not deserve affordable health insurance.

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"That doesn't mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel's kid? I don't think that it is," Mulvaney told the audience, according to a report by the Washington Examiner.

But as the American Diabetes Association pointed out in a public statement on Friday, the notion that the condition is solely caused by poor lifestyle choices is both offensive and inaccurate.

"All of the scientific evidence indicates that diabetes develops from a diverse set of risk factors, genetics being a primary cause," the statement said. "People with diabetes need access to affordable health care in order to effectively manage their disease and prevent dangerous and costly complications. Nobody should be denied coverage or charged more based on their health status."

This isn't the first time that Mulvaney has made comments which critics perceived as calloused and factually challenged. In March, Mulvaney caught flak for arguing that cutting funds to Meals on Wheels was "probably one of the most compassionate things we can do" because it allowed the government to "guarantee to you that that money is actually being used in a proper function."

Not only was this remark derided for its insensitivity, but it ignored the fact that Meals on Wheels has been demonstrably very effective.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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