Young boys have been mowing lawns since the lawn mower was invented. Many suburban families delegate lawn mowing duties to their male children (and more recently girls as well) as a way to teach responsibility and to give dad and mom a rest from a disagreeable chore. Some young folks make a little extra money, even an age of professional landscaping services, by mowing neighborhood lawns.

Frank Giaccio, an 11-year-old Virginia boy, wrote the president and volunteered to mow the White House Lawn. President trump’s office, knowing a charming human interest story when it saw one, took the lad up on the invitation. Under the supervision of the White House groundskeeper and, at one point, the president himself, Frank mowed a patch of lawn and then, along with his dad, met with POTUS in the Oval Office.

An excellent time was had by all, and a lesson in responsibility and hard work was taught. However, not everyone took the experience in the spirit it was presented.

But what about child labor laws?

Steven Greenhouse, a former labor reporter for the New York Times, was not amused. He tweeted, “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 was the recipient of a firestorm of criticism from people who wondered if he was serious. The former reporter double-downed on his critique of the president, noting that a number of young people have serious accidents using lawn mowers. He also pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 12 not be permitted to operate a lawnmower.

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Nanny stateism or why Trump got elected

Greenhouse’s attitude, the reaction to it, and the former reporters reaction to the reaction is illustrative of a divide that has opened in the United States. Most people living in middle America think nothing of having their kids operate lawn mowers, or having paper routes, or babysitting. Those things have all been part of growing up for decades, a way to teach the value or work and for kids to make a little extra money before they turn 16 and get real summer jobs. Greenhouse comes from a narrow class of people, living on either coast chances are, who find this culture a bit strange and off-putting. Greenhouse and his crowd would like kids to be prevented from taking on odd jobs. The same mentality has resulted in bust bodies closing down lemonade stands for lack of permits.

Donald Trump was born to wealth and privilege, but he is more in tune with middle America than most of his class tends to be. He knows the value of work, and he knows that most registered voters do as well. That fact is one reason Trump got elected and why he is likely to be reelected.