RICHMOND - Ahead of Donald Trump’s appearance in the first Presidential debate tonight, Virginians are already accustomed to the broken promises and lies Trump has made to them about health care, the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare and Social Security, and military veterans and their families.
As Trump’s botched response to a global pandemic has resulted in the loss of over 200,000 Americans and 3,000 Virginians, it is more clear to Virginians than ever before that Trump prioritizes his rich friends and corporate CEOs over working Americans trying to get by.
"Trump may try to convince us all tonight that the last four years haven't been a disaster for working Virginians, but the Commonwealth has seen first hand how Trump’s tax scheme benefitted himself and his wealthy donors, how he’s repeatedly tried to take away their health care, and how he has disrespected the men and women that serve in our military,” said Hannah Muldavin, Press Secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia. “Virginians have been living in Donald Trump’s America these last four years. They know better than to believe what he says at tonight’s debate.”
What Trump Has to Answer for in the Debate: Issues Important to Virginians are on Stage
Coronavirus: Trump lied to Americans, downplayed the virus despite warnings from experts, and 7 months into this crisis still doesn’t have a plan. His botched response to the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
- Trump lied to the American people about the COVID-19 pandemic and how deadly it was. Thanks in large part to his failure to assemble a strategic response, more than 203,000 Americans are now dead.
- Job recovery is slowing as the coronavirus continues to infect tens of thousands of Americans a day, but Trump has no plan to contain it.
- More than 13 million Americans are unemployed, and the unemployment rate in Virginia is nearly two times higher year on-year following President Trump’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trump is on track to be the worst jobs president in recorded history.
- In the first half of 2020, retail bankruptcies and store closures in the United States reached records as the coronavirus pandemic impacted businesses.
- Unemployment for African American workers continues to be disproportionately high. In August, Black unemployment was at 13% -- 1.8 times greater than White Americans.
- More than 100,000 small businesses have closed for good during the ongoing crisis, and more than 40% of Black small businesses have had to shut down.
Health Care: Trump has tried again and again to tear away pre-existing condition protections guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
- Even as COVID was impacting communities across the country, Trump still voiced support for getting rid of the ACA.
- When the pandemic started, Trump declined to launch a special ACA open enrollment period, despite that fact that it could have resulted in millions of Americans getting coverage.
- The week after the election, the Trump administration will go before the Supreme Court in a case to have the Affordable Care Act struck down.
- If Donald Trump successfully overturns the Affordable Care Act, 642,000 Virginians could lose their health coverage, nearly doubling the state’s number of uninsured residents. Without the ACA’s protections, as many as 3.4 million Virginians with preexisting conditions could have been denied coverage or charged higher rates.
Economy: Trump’s economy is working for his rich friends and big corporations, but American workers have been left behind. His economic policies have done little to help close the racial wealth gap and support businesses owned by people of color.
- In 2016, Trump told Virginians “Your taxes will go way way down under a Trump administration.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Virginia Beach VA, 10/22/16], but Trump’s tax scam will end up hiking taxes on more than 1 million Virginians while handing a windfall to powerful special interests.
- While hardworking Americans played by the rules and paid federal income taxes, a bombshell report from the New York Times showed Trump didn’t pay any federal income taxes for 10 years between 2000-2015, and only paid $750 the year he was elected president and his first year in office.
- Trump policies created a fragile economy that was especially vulnerable to the downturn that has resulted from the coronavirus outbreak -- especially for African Americans.
Medicare and Social Security: Trump told Virginians that “We're not gonna cut Social Security. We're not gonna cut Medicare,” [Trump Campaign Rally, Manassas VA, 12/2/15] but he has attempted to cut both programs through his budgets.
- Trump’s budgets have proposed cutting billions of dollars from Social Security programs, and hundreds of billions from Medicare and Medicaid. More than 1.2 million Virginians rely on their hard-earned Medicare benefits, and one out of every four Virginia children are covered through Medicaid.
Veterans and Military Families: Trump took office promising to “completely rebuild” the U.S. military, but he has taken every opportunity to disgrace and disrespect military veterans and their families, calling them “suckers” and “losers”.
- Trump promised Virginians “We’re going to build up our military stronger than it’s ever been before. Ever, ever, ever, ever.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Norfolk VA, 10/31/15], when in reality he diverted over $77 million in funding from Hampton Roads military projects toward his obsession with building a border wall.
- While he told Gold Star families that he would always support them, Trump’s 2017 tax giveaway gave a massive tax hike to Gold Star families while cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.