Trump’s 40 biggest broken promises

He’s made his rich friends richer, increased the political power of big corporations and the wealthy, and harmed working Americans.

SOURCERobert Reich

Trump voters. Nearly 4 years in, here’s an updated list of Trump’s 40 biggest broken promises.

1. He said coronavirus would “go away without a vaccine.” You bought it. But it didn’t. While other countries got the pandemic under control and avoided large numbers of fatalities, the virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans*, and that number is still climbing.

2. He said he won’t have time to play golf if elected president. But he has made more than 250 visits to his golf clubs since he took office – a record for any president – including more trips during the pandemic than meetings with Dr. Fauci. The total financial cost to America? More than $136 million.

3. He said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with something “beautiful.” It didn’t happen. Instead, 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance since he took office. He has asked the Supreme Court to strike down the law in the middle of a global pandemic with no plan to replace it.

4. He said he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. He did the opposite. By 2027, the richest 1 percent will have received 83 percent of the Trump tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. But more than half of all Americans will pay more in taxes.

5. He said corporations would use their tax cuts to invest in American workers. They didn’t. Corporations spent more of their tax savings buying back shares of their own stock than increasing workers wages.

6. He said he would boost economic growth by 4 percent a year. Nope. The economy stalled, and unemployment has soared to the highest levels since the Great Depression. Just over half of working-age Americans are employed – the worst ratio in 70 years.  

7. He said he wouldn’t “cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” His latest budget includes billions in cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

8. He promised to be “the voice” of American workers. He hasn’t. His administration has stripped workers of their rights, repealed overtime protections, rolled back workplace safety rules, and turned a blind eye to employers who steal their workers’ wages.

9. He promised that the average American family would see a $4,000 pay raise because of his tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. But nothing trickled down. Wages for most Americans have barely kept up with inflation.    

10. He promised that anyone who wants a test for Covid will get one. But countless Americans still can’t get a test.

11. He said hydroxychloroquine protects against coronavirus. No way. The FDA revoked its emergency authorization due to the drug’s potentially lethal side effects.

12. He promised to eliminate the federal deficit. He has increased the federal deficit by more than 60 percent.

13. He said he would hire “only the best people.” He has fired a record number of his own cabinet and White House picks, and then called them “whackos,” “dumb as a rock,“ and  “not mentally qualified.”  6 of them have been charged with crimes.

14. He promised to bring down the price of prescription drugs and said drug companies are “getting away with murder.”  They still are. Drug prices have soared, and a company that got federal funds to develop a drug to treat coronavirus is charging $3,000 a pop.

15. He promised to revive the struggling coal industry and bring back lost coal mining jobs. The coal industry has continued to lose jobs as clean energy becomes cheaper.

16. He promised to help American workers during the pandemic. But 80% of the tax benefits in the coronavirus stimulus package have gone to millionaires and billionaires. And at least 21 million Americans have lost extra unemployment benefits, with no new stimulus check to fall back on.

17. He said he’d drain the swamp. Instead, he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, and he’s filled departments and agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they used to work for.

18. He promised to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. His Justice Department is trying to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, including protections for people with preexisting conditions.

19. He said Mexico would pay for his border wall. The wall is estimated to cost American taxpayers an estimated $11 billion.

20. He promised to bring peace to the Middle East. Instead, tensions have increased and his so-called “peace plan” was dead on arrival.

21. He promised to lock up Hillary Clinton for using a private email server. He didn’t. Funny enough, Trump uses his personal cell-phone for official business, and several members of his own administration, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka, have used private email in the White House.

22. He promised to use his business experience to whip the federal government into shape. He hasn’t. His White House is in permanent chaos. He caused the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history when he didn’t get funding for his wall.

23. He promised to end DACA. The Supreme Court ruled that his plan to deport 700,000 young immigrants was unconstitutional, and DACA still stands.  

24. He promised “six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” He hasn’t delivered.

25. He promised to bring an end to Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear program. Kim is expanding North Korea’s nuclear program.

26. He said he would distance himself from his businesses while in office. He continues to make money from his properties and maintain his grip on his real estate empire.

27. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America, and that there would be consequences for companies that shipped jobs abroad. Since he took office, companies like GE, Carrier, Ford, and Harley Davidson have continued to outsource thousands of jobs while still receiving massive tax breaks. And offshoring by federal contractors has increased.

28. He promised to end the opioid crisis. Americans are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident.

29. He said he’d release his tax returns. It’s been nearly 4 years. He hasn’t released his tax returns.

30. He promised to tear up the Iran nuclear deal and renegotiate a better deal. Negotiations have gone nowhere, and he brought us to the brink of war.

31. He promised to enact term limits for all members of Congress. He has not even tried to enact term limits.

32. He promised that China would pay for tariffs on imported goods. His trade war has cost U.S. consumers $34 billion a year, eliminated 300,000 American jobs, and cost American taxpayers $22 billion in subsidies for farmers hurt by the tariffs.

33. He promised to “push colleges to cut the skyrocketing cost of tuition.” Instead, he’s made it easier for for-profit colleges to defraud students, and tuition is still rising.

34. He promised to protect American steel jobs. The steel industry continues to lose jobs.

35. He promised tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations would spur economic growth and pay for themselves. His tax cuts will add $2 trillion to the federal deficit.

36. After pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, he said he’d negotiate a better deal on the environment. He hasn’t attempted to negotiate any deal.  

37. He promised that the many women who accused him of sexual misconduct “will be sued after the election is over.” He hasn’t sued them, presumably because he doesn’t want the truth to come out.

38. He promised to bring back all troops from Afghanistan. He now says: “We’ll always have somebody there.”

39. He pledged to put America first. Instead, he’s deferred to dictators and authoritarians at America’s expense, and ostracized our allies — who now laugh at us behind our back.

40. He promised to be the voice of the common people. He’s made his rich friends richer, increased the political power of big corporations and the wealthy, and harmed working Americans. Don’t let the liar-in-chief break any more promises. Vote him out in November.


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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.