Center for American Progress Action

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Chaotic Pandemic Response Puts Florida Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk
Press Release

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Chaotic Pandemic Response Puts Florida Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk

Florida unemployment when President Trump took office: 4.6 percent

Florida unemployment now: 7.4 percent

Washington, D.C. — Tomorrow, President Donald Trump will arrive in Jacksonville, Florida, to hold a rally at Cecil Field. His event will be his sixth rally without social distancing in the last week, minimizing the COVID-19 pandemic and putting Americans at risk despite having known the dangers of the virus since February. This week, as the United States passed the grim milestone of more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, President Trump continued to downplay the threat of the coronavirus by falsely claiming the virus “affects virtually nobody” and “only” elderly people with preexisting conditions, despite telling Bob Woodward months ago that “it’s not just old people.” President Trump’s callous disregard for the virus puts more than 4.9 million Floridians over the age of 65 at great risk—as well as everybody else—as his attacks on his own administration’s coronavirus safety guidelines discourage mask wearing.

As a result of President Trump’s failure to control the virus, the unemployment rate in Florida was 7.4 percent in August compared with 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. Amid this economic instability, President Trump reduced unemployment benefits by $300 per week, increasing monthly shortfalls for Florida single-parent families with one child on a modest budget to $1,828 per month, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis. As of August 29, more than 410,000 Floridians were 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, President 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. President Trump’s proposal, according to Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss, would wipe out the Social Security Trust Fund by 2023. More than 4.7 million Florida residents, or 22.1 percent of the state’s population, are Social Security beneficiaries. Meanwhile, nearly 1.6 million Floridians will lose their health coverage if the Trump administration-backed lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) succeeds, and 8.4 million Floridians with preexisting conditions would lose critical protections against higher premiums or lose their coverage altogether.

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

Drug costs

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

Reality: In 2018, a “pharmaceutical industry insider” told Vox, “[T]here has been an education of Mr. Trump …” Last year before the pandemic, drug company price increases were three times greater than wages.

Health care

Promise: “Those with preexisting conditions will always get the quality coverage they need.” – President 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 in Florida would lose coverage if the ACA were repealed.
  • 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.
  • 8.4 million Floridians with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.

Profits and wages

Promise: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created … our poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” – President 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.
  • President 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.
  • President Trump took away paid overtime protections, costing Florida workers $85 million annually in lost overtime wages.


Promise: “No one will gain more from these proposals than low- and middle-income Americans.” – President Donald Trump, August 8, 2016

Reality: 83 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.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Jesse Lee at [email protected].