CAP Action Memo: Trump To Visit Des Moines After a String of Broken Promises to Iowa

Tomorrow, President Donald Trump will head to Des Moines, Iowa, for an event at Drake University. His visit to Iowa comes as criticism builds against the Trump administration’s lack of focus on the issues that matter most to working families. As evidenced by his Twitter timeline, President Trump and his administration’s priorities have been far from the issues about which Iowan families are most concerned, such as wage growth, the cost of prescription drugs and access to health care, student debt, and climate change. 

In fact, since September 24—the day the impeachment inquiry was announced—Trump has sent more than 4,000 tweets, averaging more than 32 tweets per day. The president only mentioned preexisting conditions and Medicare in six of those tweets; he has also failed to personally tweet about wages or wage growth or mention the middle class over the same time period.

In his multiple visits to Iowa, from before taking office and during his time in the White House, President Trump has made sweeping promises to Iowa families that he continues to break; in some cases, as with farming, his actions have actively worsened the lives of Iowans.

Here are five of President Trump’s worst broken promises:

Farms

Promise: “We’re going to negotiate trade deals to protect our farmers, help them export their goods, and make money doing it. … We’re going to grow the farms.” – Donald Trump, Des Moines, Iowa, September 13, 2016

Reality: 

  • Agricultural states have experienced dramatic increases in farm bankruptcies. So-called breadbasket states in the 7th and 8th Federal Circuits—including Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, among others—have seen a 52 percent increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies since the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Nationally, farm bankruptcies have reached their highest levels since 2011. Texas alone saw a 73 percent increase in filed bankruptcies over the same time period. When the final figures for 2019 are released, these numbers will likely increase. 
  • Farms across the country lost $8.4 billion in profits due to the Trump administration’s erratic trade policies. As a result, net farm income in 2018 was down 16 percent from the previous year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture program meant to provide relief to the most affected farmers has largely ignored small and minority-owned farms. 
  • The number of family farm bankruptcies in Iowa grew by 77 percent in 2019 from 2018, largely as a result of the Trump administration’s trade war. 

Health care

Promise: “We can repeal and replace Obamacare and save health care for every family in Iowa.” – Donald Trump, Sioux City, Iowa, November 6, 2016

Reality:

  • The Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to sabotage and eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would result in 1.3 million Iowans with preexisting conditions to lose their protections.
  • Without a viable alternative to the ACA, 187,000 Iowans would lose their health coverage, increasing the state’s uninsured rate by 126 percent.
  • In its attempts to undermine the ACA, the Trump administration expanded options for short-term, noncomprehensive plans as the Republican-controlled Congress stripped the ACA of vital resources in order to provide tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. These moves to sabotage the health care that millions of Americans rely on will cost the average Iowa family $4,590 in premium increases this year alone.

Wages 

Promise: “Prosperity will rise, poverty will recede, and wages will finally begin to grow and they will grow rapidly.” – Donald Trump, Clive, Iowa, September 13, 2016

Reality:

  • The Trump administration discarded a protection ensuring that workers receive fair pay for overtime hours, costing Iowans $18 million in lost overtime wages.
  • In addition to rolling back protections for overtime pay, the Trump administration also eliminated a protection shielding retirees from predatory financial advisers, costing Iowans more than $295 million in lost retirement savings.
  • The Trump administration has sought to weaken standards on fuel efficiency and climate pollution, which would cost Iowans more than $78 million at the gas pump.
  • All told, President Trump’s elimination of protections for workers, retirees, and the everyday consumer to benefit corporations and the wealthy would cost Iowans more than $301 million.

Tax cuts

Promise: “We’re lowering the hell out of taxes for businesses  and for the middle class.” – Donald Trump, Ottumwa, Iowa, January 9, 2016

Reality:

  • Eighty-three percent of the administration’ tax cuts went to the top 1 percent.
  • The harmful tax cuts passed by the Trump administration and Congress led to 188,000 Iowan families paying more or the same amount in taxes last year, while the richest 1 percent of Iowans received 25 percent of the cuts provided.
  • The average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Iowans totals $43,060, while the average tax cut for the bottom 80 percent amounts to $750.

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