October 14, 2020 Press Releases

Arizona Seniors Abandoning Trump After Years of Broken Promises

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

CONTACT: Tyler Cherry, tcherry@azdem.org

Arizona Seniors Abandoning Trump After Years of Broken Promises

Trump’s Failed Pandemic Response, Attacks on Social Security
Leave AZ’s Seniors Demanding New Leadership

PHOENIX — With early voting underway across the state, Arizona’s seniors are well-aware of how the Trump administration’s broken promises and failed leadership have left them worried about their health and economic security.

“Older Arizona voters are trading Trump for Biden,” according to new reporting from the Arizona Republic, because Trump’s “delayed and inconsistent response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put them directly in harm’s way and has kept them locked away from their friends and family with no clear timeline of when they can safely visit with them again.”

The Republic also reports that “many fixed-income seniors worry about the future of Social Security, given Trump’s aim to make permanent cuts to the payroll tax that funds the program. They also worry about rising out-of-pocket costs for many of their prescription drugs.”

Just today, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett refused to say whether Medicare, a critical health care program for older Americans, is constitutional. Barrett has strongly suggested that she would strike down the ACA, which risks raising costs and limiting options for America’s seniors.

“Arizona’s seniors have been hit especially hard by Trump’s mishandling of this pandemic, and his failure to implement an adequate testing strategy and protect nursing homes has kept too many older Arizonans locked away from their children and grandchildren,” said Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson Tyler Cherry. “To make matters worse, Trump signaled he would go after seniors’ pocketbooks by slashing funding to Social Security, and his Supreme Court nominee refuses to say whether Medicare is constitutional. Trump has broken promise after promise, and Arizona’s seniors will see right through his empty rhetoric this election. Older Arizonans deserve leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who will contain the pandemic, preserve and strengthen Social Security, and protect Medicare to ensure quality, affordable health care.”


Promise: Trump repeatedly promised that he would protect Social Security and Medicare. At his 2016 campaign launch, Trump said he would “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”  And at a 2016 campaign event in Phoenix, Trump said, “let’s protect our Social Security and Medicare.” 

  • Reality: Social Security is a critical lifeline for nearly 1.4 million Arizonans who rely on it to make ends meet. But Trump is exploiting a public health crisis to gut Social Security — right when older Americans need help the most.

  • Reality: Trump pledged to pursue a permanent cut to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare if he wins reelection in November. Trump has reportedly also “said privately he wants the tax to be permanently eliminated.”

  • Reality: Trump said “at the right time” in a second term he would “take a look at” entitlement cuts like Social Security because it was “actually the easiest of all things.”

  • Reality: Trump has repeatedly failed to live up to his promise not to touch Social Security. Trump’s FY21 budget called for $24 billion in cuts to Social Security programs. And Trump’s FY20 budget proposed $26 billion in cuts to Social Security programs.

Promise: Trump promised his Administration was taking “unprecedented steps” to protect America’s seniors from the coronavirus. [Trump, 4/30/20

  • Reality: In Arizona, approximately over 70% of deaths due to COVID-19 have come from individuals age 65 and older.

  • Reality: Arizona is home to 140 nursing facilities, and as of September, over 1,000 residents have been infected by the coronavirus. One in four Arizona nursing homes didn’t meet basic infection controls and were cited for errors that could spread COVID-19.

  • Reality: The Trump Administration’s initiative to send testing kits to skilled nursing homes left out over 2,000 assisted living facilities in Arizona. Meanwhile, state nursing home officials previously reported wait times of more than a week for COVID-19 test results.

  • Reality: The Trump Administration failed to address PPE and testing supply shortages in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Promise: Trump promised Arizona’s seniors he would make “health care better” and “lower prescription drug prices.” [Trump, 2/19/20]

  • Reality: Trump’s effort to overturn the ACA risks raising prescription drug costs for many Arizona seniors who benefit from Medicare and undercutting critical nursing home protections.

  • Reality: In Arizona, approximately 17.5% of the population is 65 years and over, and many older Arizonans have relied on the ACA to lower premiums and reduce prescription drug costs by eliminating the Medicare Part D coverage gap (also called the ‘donut hole’).

  • Reality: Without the ACA, Medicare beneficiaries would pay more for preventive care and prescription drug costs. In fact, many seniors would likely end up spending around $2,000 or more in out-of-pocket drug costs each year if the ACA is overturned and the Medicare Part D coverage gap is reopened.

  • Reality: Trump’s attempt to overturn the ACA would further weaken resident protections at nursing homes, limit long-term care options for many seniors, and undermine efforts to improve nursing-home quality in a critical moment of crisis.