Center for American Progress Action

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Failing Pandemic Response Continues to Put Michigan Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk
Press Release

CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Failing Pandemic Response Continues to Put Michigan Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk

Michigan unemployment when President Trump took office: 4.9 percent

Michigan unemployment now: 8.5 percent

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Donald Trump will travel to Lansing, Michigan, to hold an in-person rally in the middle of a pandemic that has taken more than 225,000 American lives. Due to the president’s failed pandemic response, coronavirus cases have reached a record high in daily average cases as Trump’s chief of staff admitted defeat over the weekend by revealing that the Trump administration is “not going to control the pandemic.” Despite 38 states seeing COVID-19 hospitalizations rising, Trump continues to lie to the American people about the true danger of the virus even though he has known about its lethality since February. Trump’s insistence on holding rallies across the nation—including 10 in-person rallies last week and 23 this month—continues to demonstrate his dismissal of the pandemic and puts American lives at risk.

Even after being hospitalized with COVID-19, Trump told the country not to let the virus “dominate your lives” and has repeatedly claimed over the past eight months that the virus will “disappear.” Following his recovery using treatments unavailable to the general public, Trump falsely claimed to be immune to the virus despite failing to disclose when he last tested negative. More than 13,012 Americans have died from the coronavirus since the president promised to provide the “unbelievable medicine” he took at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center free of charge. And earlier this month in an NBC town hall, he continued to disregard science by attacking the effectiveness of masks with an inaccurate claim and discouraging his supporters from wearing masks.

As a result of Trump’s failure to control the virus, the unemployment rate in Michigan was still at 8.5 percent in September, compared with 4.9 percent when the Trump presidency began. In the absence of federal leadership or any national testing plan, the virus continues to spread, and uncertainty has created wildly unstable economic conditions in the state. More than 301,296 Michiganders are still receiving some type of unemployment benefit. In total, 448,400 fewer Michiganders were employed in September than in February—an 10 percent decline.

Instead of leading the country out of the pandemic, 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 Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss, would wipe out the Social Security Trust Fund by 2023. More than 2.2 million Michigan residents—22.4 percent of the state’s population—are Social Security beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, President Trump has continued his attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After revealing a panicked 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, 720,000 state residents could lose health coverage, and 4.1 million Michiganders with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums or be barred from coverage during the pandemic.

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

Health care

Claim: “Those with pre-existing 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. In Michigan:

  • 4.1 million residents with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.
  • 720,000 Michigan residents could lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.

Profits and wages

Claim: “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 Michigan workers. Approximately 1.4 million state workers were denied a pay increase, resulting in more than $3.6 billion in lost wages.


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

Reality: Eighty-three percent of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut went to big corporations and the rich. Many Michigan families are getting stuck with the bill.

  • 253,020 Michigan families paid more in taxes last year due to the Trump administration’s tax bill.
  • For the 2019 tax year, the average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Michigan earners was $52,230. The average tax cut for the middle 20 percent was $750.

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