Trump’s Reckless and Failing Pandemic Response Continues to Put North Carolina Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk
North Carolina unemployment when Trump took office: 4.9 percent
North Carolina unemployment now: 7.3 percent
Today, President Donald Trump will arrive near Lumberton, North Carolina, to give remarks at a rally at the Robeson County Fairgrounds. His event will be the 17th in-person rally and third in North Carolina following the revelation of his COVID-19 diagnosis on October 2. Trump’s return to North Carolina comes as the state reaches record highs in COVID-19 deaths this week. According to the most recent White House Coronavirus Task Force report for governors, Lumberton is one of five localities in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases per capita and percentage of positive tests. Task force officials found Robeson County, which is also in the “red zone,” had the highest number of new cases per capita of any county in North Carolina the week of October 10–16 and the second-highest per capita this week with 10.6 percent, double the statewide average of 5.9 percent
Despite the more than 223,000 lives lost in the United States due to the president’s failed pandemic response, he continues to lie to the American people about the true danger of the virus despite knowing since February. Trump’s insistence on holding rallies across the nation — nine in-person rallies last week and six this week — continues to demonstrate his dismissal of the pandemic and willingness to put American lives at risk. Even after being hospitalized with the greatest care in the world, Trump told the country not to let the virus “dominate your lives” and has repeatedly claimed the virus will “disappear” over the past eight months. 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 14,459 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 just last Thursday, at 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 North Carolina reversed course and increased from 6.5 percent in August to 7.3 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. Amid this economic instability, Trump cut federal unemployment insurance by $300 initially and now has let that relief run out, leaving North Carolina single-parent families with one child on a modest budget facing a shortfall of $3,320 per month, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis. More than 108,833 North Carolinians are still receiving some type of unemployment benefits. In total, 295,900 fewer North Carolinians were employed in September compared with February.
Instead of leading the country out of the pandemic, Trump has continued hislong-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 funds by 2023. More than 2.1 million North Carolina residents, or 20.4 percent of the state’s population, are Social Security beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Trump has continued his long-time assault 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, 503,000 state residents could lose health coverage and4.2 million North Carolinians 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 and put North Carolina families at risk below.
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 North Carolina:
- 4.2 million residents with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.
- 503,000 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 North Carolina workers. 1,587,000 state workers were denied a pay increase, resulting inover $6 billion in lost wages.
Claim: “We will massively cut taxes for the middle class.” — Donald Trump in Wilmington, North Carolina, November 5, 2016
Reality: 83 percent of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many North Carolina families are getting stuck with the bill.