Trump gets standing ovation for promising to pass a law already on the books

Trump gets standing ovation for promising to pass a law already on the books
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP

President Donald Trump promised supporters at a campaign rally in Iowa Wednesday night that he would "very shortly" pass a law that would ban immigrants from receiving welfare benefits for "at least five years."

The problem?

That's already the law.

"Most qualified aliens entering the country on or after enactment are banned from receiving Federal means-tested public benefits for a period of five years beginning on the date of the alien's entry with a qualified alien status," according to rules for receiving benefits such as Medicaid, coverage under the Children's Health Insurance Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — better known as food stamps.

That law has been on the books for more than 20 years, applying to immigrants who entered the United States after Aug. 22, 1996.

There's only one class of immigrants who are not included in that benefit delay: Cuban immigrants, who receive automatic refugee status.

A White House official wouldn't deny that this is already law, according to CNN's Jeremy Diamond.

Aside from proposing a law that's already on the books, Trump also told the rally crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that he didn't want "poor people" running the economy.

It was a defense of the spectacularly wealthy cabinet he put together, which includes former Goldman Sachs bankers — whom he repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for being too close to.