Center for American Progress Action

Trump’s Chaotic Pandemic Response Put Florida Health, Jobs, & Seniors at Risk

Trump’s Chaotic Pandemic Response Put Florida Health, Jobs, & Seniors at Risk

Florida unemployment when Trump took office: 4.6 percent

Florida unemployment now: 7.4 percent

Washington, D.C. — Tomorrow, President Donald Trump will arrive in Sanford, Florida, to hold a rally in an airplane hanger at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The event will be his 18th non-socially distanced rally in one month, putting Americans at risk despite having known the dangers of the virus since February. Even as the United States passed the grim milestone of more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, more than three times the entire population of Sanford, Trump has continued to downplay the threat of the virus by falsely claiming that the virus “affects virtually nobody” and “only” elderly people with preexisting conditions. His blatant disregard for public safety directly contradicts what Trump told Bob Woodward in February: “[I]t’s not just old people.” In the first presidential debate this week, he claimed that there has been “no negative effect” from his rallies, despite the death of Herman Cain and a record increase in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma, which the Tulsa Health Department director admits was likely due in part to the rally. Trump’s actions put more than 4.9 million Florida residents over the age of 65 and others at great risk, given his attacks on his own administration’s coronavirus safety guidelines to discourage mask-wearing.

As a result of Trump’s failure to control the virus, the unemployment rate in Florida rate was 7.4 percent in August, up from 4.6 percent when his presidency began. In the absence of federal leadership or any national testing plan, the virus continues to spread, and uncertainty has caused wildly unstable economic conditions in the state. Additionally, President Trump’s executive action on unemployment insurance has caused chaos in states across the country, with Florida being the first state in the nation to halt the program because it cannot meet the cost requirements. For perspective, even with the $300 benefits — which were already reduced from $600 — a Center for American Progress analysis finds that the president’s action left a typical one-parent, one-child family in Florida $1,828 short of making ends meet. Now, without any federal assistance, that same Florida family would be $3,028 short of making ends meet. As of October 1, more than 414,174 Floridians are still receiving some type of unemployment benefits. In total, 547.000 fewer Floridians were employed in August compared with February — a 6 percent decline.

Instead of leading the country out of the pandemic, Trump has continued his long-time assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After revealing a health care executive order that does nothing to protect preexisting conditions, Trump maintained his commitment to striking down the ACA in court. If the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds, 1,750,000 state residents could lose their health coverage and 8.4 million Floridians with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums or be barred from coverage during the pandemic. Trump also seeks to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, who has previously written in opposition to the decisions the court made to uphold the ACA and signed on to a letter calling one of them “unacceptable.”

Learn more about how the Trump administration’s policies have hurt Florida families and put them at risk below.


Promise: “I would let people that are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay some tax, because right now they’re paying very little tax, and I think it’s outrageous. I want to lower taxes for the middle class.” — Donald Trump, August 25, 2015

Reality: President Trump promised voters that he would prioritize the interests of the middle class. Instead, he’s prioritized the wealthiest Americans and corporations, starting with himself. Trump only paid only $750 in income taxes in the years 2016 and 2017, and paid nothing at all for 10 of the 15 years prior to that. Eighty-three percent of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many Florida families are getting stuck with the bill.

  • 545,880 Florida families experienced a tax increase in the first year after the law’s passage.
  • For the 2019 tax year, the average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Florida earners was $81,140. The average tax cut for the middle 20 percent was $550.

Health care

Promise: “Those with preexisting conditions will always get the quality coverage they need.” — Donald Trump, September 24, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration is trying to repeal the ACA through the courts with no replacement. If successful, the Trump administration will strip coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, and end protections for people with preexisting conditions.

  • 1.6 million people in Florida would lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.
  • 8.4 million Floridians with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.
  • More than 132,000 Florida young adults under their parents’ coverage could lose care. Because of the ACA, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.

Profits and wages

Promise: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. … [O]ur poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” — Donald Trump, October 5, 2016

Reality: President Trump promised voters that he would prioritize the interests of the middle class. Instead, he’s prioritized the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

  • President Trump has the worst jobs record in history and is the only president to have lost net jobs on his watch.
  • Trump blocked a federal minimum wage increase for Florida workers. 3.2 million state workers were denied a pay increase, resulting in more than $10.4 billion in lost wages.
  • Trump took away paid overtime protections, costing Florida workers $85 million annually in lost overtime wages.

Social Security

Promise: “I will protect your Social Security without cuts.” — Donald Trump, August 28, 2015

Reality: Trump has continued his long-time assault on Social Security by calling for the termination of a large portion of its dedicated funding source, payroll taxes. Trump’s proposal, according to the Chief Social Security Actuary Stephen Goss, would wipe out the Social Security Trust Fund by 2023.

  • More than 4,747,364 Florida residents are Social Security beneficiaries — roughly 19 percent of the state’s total population.

Drug costs

Promise: In 2016, Trump promised to save hundreds of billions of dollars by standing up to the pharmaceutical industry. He said he would “negotiate like crazy” to bring down costs for Medicare, claiming, “I’m going to bring down drug prices.

Reality: In 2018, a pharmaceutical industry insider told Vox, “There has been an education of Mr. Trump.” Last year, drug company prices increased three times faster than wages.

Promise: “I’m getting [insulin] so cheap, it’s like water.” — Donald Trump, 2020 presidential debate, September 29, 2020

Reality: Insulin costs just as much as before. Insulin still retails for roughly $300 per vial. Most patients with diabetes need two to three vials per month, and some can require much more.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.