Sen. Warner talks Trump, Northam during stop in Salem

Senator softens stance on governor, criticizes border wall

SALEM, Va. – Senator Mark Warner offered political food for thought while visiting the Feeding America Southwest Virginia Food Bank on Wednesday.

"The government shutdown was just plain crazy," Warner said. "It was a self-inflicted harm."

Warner visited the food bank to discuss his bill to help eliminate food deserts through tax breaks for grocers that relocate to areas without access to healthy food. He criticized President Trump's national emergency declaration for border wall funding, saying taxpayer money should be spent on programs such as food banks.

"The national emergency is we have a million Virginians that live in food deserts and 40 million Americans that live in food deserts," said Warner. "The optics of the president declaring a national emergency and saying he's going to take money, I think, inappropriately from defense funded projects or others, then climbing on an airplane to go play golf...I think the picture says a thousand words."

Warner also commented on the controversy surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam. Warner and Senator Tim Kaine released a joint statement asking Northam to resign after a racist picture was found on the governor's medical school yearbook page, but Warner appears to have taken a softer tone toward Northam.

 "I'll take the governor at his word that he wants to make racial reconciliation a top priority, but I think it's candidly going to be up to Virginians to make that decision," Warner said.

Warner's bill, the Healthy Fund Access for All Americans Act, will be considered by Congress next month.

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