During the 2016 campaign Donald Trump promised working class Wisconsinites — the very people I represent — that he would have our backs. But every action he has taken as president has left us behind, and now our lives are harder than ever. Now, as the country grapples with a jobs crisis Trump exacerbated, he claims it’s the fault of anyone but him.
But this economic turmoil started long before COVID-19 hit the United States.
In 2017, Trump signed into law a tax bill that was a boon for giant corporations and left the rest of us behind. Instead of increasing wages for the employees who make it possible for these companies to make billions of dollars, executives were rewarded with even bigger bonuses. Instead of hiring more workers, they shipped jobs overseas. And what happened the day after the tax bill passed? Some of Trump’s and the Republicans’ biggest donors transferred millions of dollars to their campaign committees. This bill wasn’t about helping hardworking Wisconsinites or Americans, it was about Trump making money for his country club buddies and filling his campaign coffers.
After passing this disastrous tax bill, Trump destroyed our farming sector as we’ve seen thousands of small and medium-sized family farms that support local jobs and economies close their doors. That’s thousands of Wisconsinites who have to figure how they’re going to put food on their table, pay for health care, and pay their rent. And we got nothing for it — the pain he promised would be temporary has been anything but that.
But what has really shown Trump’s callousness towards working people has been his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither I nor any reasonable person would blame the president for the pandemic hitting — but he is fully responsible for waiting months to mount any supportive response and putting us in a situation that has cost us over 110,000 lives and millions of jobs. We know it didn’t have to be this way — had he just listened to the warnings he was receiving in January; had he just considered the lives of the people he swore to protect and make better we wouldn’t be in this situation.
What’s more is the essential workers we represent — from nurses to grocery store workers to transit workers — were forced to show up every day without the proper PPE gear they needed to stay safe — the exact equipment that Trump shipped to China when he was taking the word of their president about the virus over the word of our intelligence community.
It hasn’t been his donors who are paying the price or the buddies he went golfing with in the middle of this crisis — it’s been working class people. He looks at us as expendable, unimportant, nobodies. Look no further than his dismissal of simple scientific truths, encouraging states and businesses to open prematurely with zero disregard for the human toll. He encourages people to drink household cleaning supplies and refuses to wear a mask because he doesn’t think it will look good, despite the example he could set as president of the United States.
To distract from this abysmal record he is rehashing segragationist rallying cries on Twitter to further divide the country rather than unite it. He’s urging violence in the street instead of reform, and using a bullhorn to signal to racists and bigots that their hateful beliefs are welcomed in America.
Trump is not a president for working Wisconsinites or Americans; he uses the Oval Office to enrich himself while the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves. We have been crushed for more than three years under the Trump presidency, and we can’t afford any more.