Center for American Progress Action

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Broken Promises to Kentucky Working Families
Press Release

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Broken Promises to Kentucky Working Families

Washington, D.C. — On Monday, President Donald Trump will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to attend an event alongside Gov. Matt Bevin (R) at Rupp Arena. 

In previous trips to Kentucky, Trump has promised to work on issues that affect the lives of Kentuckians such as lowering health care costs, negotiating trade deals for farmers, and protecting pensions for coal miners. In reality, the Trump administration has failed to deliver on these promises, instead backing a lawsuit to take away health care for people with preexisting conditions; failing to restore the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for affected miners; and even ignoring pleas to protect miners’ pension funds as plant closures increase. 

Learn more about President Trump’s top broken promises to Kentucky families here.

Health care

Promise: “We’re going to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have a great, great plan as a substitute.” – Donald Trump, Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration is trying to sabotage Americans’ health care by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or toppling the law in the courts. If the Trump administration is successful:

  • 1.8 million Kentuckians with preexisting conditions will lose protections under ACA repeal.
  • 379,000 Kentuckians will lose their health coverage under ACA repeal.
  • The annual premium increase for the average Kentucky family under ACA repeal would be $3,220.
  • If the ACA were overturned, the loss in coverage would disproportionately harm Black people. Thousands of Black Kentuckians could lose their health care coverage.

Coal miners

Promise: “We’re gonna take care of our miners … we’re going to bring back our industry.” – Donald Trump, October 10, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration has rolled back safety protections and regulations that protect mine workers from layoffs, coal plant closures, troubled pensions, and health benefit cuts.

  • The Trump administration has ignored pleas to protect troubled coal miner pension funds as coal plant closures increase.
  • The administration has not acted to restore the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which is still running on fumes due to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) obstruction.
  • Trump and his political allies have raised at least $6.1 million from mine owners who have repeatedly endangered their miners and who have received health and safety rollbacks in return.


Promise: “[W]e’re going to negotiate trade deals to protect our farmers, help them export their goods, and make money doing it.” – Donald Trump, September 13, 2016

Reality: In 2018 alone, nearly one-sixth of Kentucky dairy farms with Grade A permits shut down, continuing the trend of small farms being pushed out by large corporations that benefited from the 2017 tax cuts.

  • As soybean prices drop by 20 percent due to the Trump administration’s erratic trade policies, Kentucky farmers face losses topping $200 million.
  • Farm debt has increased by nearly one-third since 2013 to levels that have not been seen since the farm crisis of the 1980s.
  • Net farm income has fallen by nearly 50 percent since 2013, as the Trump administration’s trade policies continue to exacerbate the economic pain felt by farmers.
  • The Trump administration’s tariff relief aid for farmers is enriching multinational corporations such as JBS, a Brazilian company that received more than $62 million in government contracts and payments in the first quarter of 2019. The company raked in $273 million in profits in the same time period. 

Profits and wages

Promise: “Our economy will be unleashed and millions will be lifted from welfare to work.” – Donald Trump, Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017

Reality: The Trump administration has taken away safeguards that ensure workers are paid overtime, protect retirees from exploitative financial advisors, and ensure that people pay less at the gas pump. As a result of the Trump administration’s policies, Kentucky workers have seen:


Promise: “We are going to massively reduce your taxes.” – Donald Trump, Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017

Reality: Most of the 2017 $2 trillion tax cut goes to corporations and the rich. Many Kentucky families are getting stuck with the bill.

  • 123,420 Kentucky families paid more in taxes this year due to the Trump administration’s tax bill. 
  • The average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Kentuckians was $37,870, while the bottom 80 percent of Kentuckians saw just a small fraction of that.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Freedom Alexander Murphy at [email protected] or 202-796-9712.