Former NYT Reporter: White House Sent Wrong ‘Signal’ by Having 11-Year-Old Frank Giaccio Mow Lawn

Frank Giaccio, 11, of Falls Church, Va., left, is encouraged by President Donald Trump, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, while he mowed the lawn in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. The 11-year-old, who wrote the president requesting to mow the lawn at the White House, was so …
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

A former New York Times reporter who covered labor issues received an onslaught of criticism on social media for a tweet he wrote saying the White House is sending the wrong message concerning child labor.

“Not sending a great signal on child labor, minimum wage & occupational safety >> Trump White House lets a 10-year-old volunteer mow its lawn,” Greenhouse wrote.

Steven Greenhouse, whose career with the Times spanned 31 years, had an issue with the White House allowing 11-year-old Frank Giaccio, of Falls Church, Virginia, to mow the lawn in the White House garden, citing “child labor, minimum wage, and occupational safety” laws.

The Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl called it the “dumbest tweet ever,” and many others took to Twitter to criticize Greenhouse, including the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, who called Greenhouse’s tweet “sanctimonious and humorless finger-wagging”:

President Trump invited Frank to mow the lawn in the White House Rose Garden after the boy wrote a letter to the White House when he was 10-years-old. His letter stated, “It would be an honor to mow the White House lawn.”

“I would like to show the nation what young people like me are ready for,” Frank’s letter read. “I admire your business background and have started my own business.”

Greenhouse responded to many of his critics by tweeting that children can be “hurt by machinery” and posted multiple links to publications about children getting limbs amputated because they had been in accidents involving lawnmowers:

Many Twitter users hammered Greenhouse for criticizing the White House’s message of teaching kids the value of hard work and self-sufficiency.

“Teaching kids to be self-sufficient and the value of a day’s work is problematic now? FFS! My dad had me on the tractor when I was 9,” one user fired back at him.

To put Greenhouse’s claims into perspective, a study from researchers at Penn State College of Medicine noted that more than 13,000 children had been treated for lawn mower injuries in 2015, but it also noted that many more adults received treatment for injuries sustained from lawn mowers.

Researchers said more than 68,000 adults ended up in the emergency room for lawn mower-related injuries. When it comes down to it, adults are more likely to get into accidents than children, who are often supervised while carrying out lawn mower tasks.

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