Trump tries to bribe seniors for their votes with $200 prescription cards

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But it's unclear if seniors will ever get the cards, as they would cost $6.6 billion that Congress never authorized.

Donald Trump on Thursday announced he will send $200 cards to seniors to spend on prescription drugs, a move a watchdog group decried as a "pathetic attempt to bribe voters" just ahead of the 2020 election.

It's unclear whether Trump even has the authority to send the cards, which would cost $6.6 billion that Congress never appropriated, Politico reported.

Yet Trump made the announcement anyway at an event in North Carolina on Thursday, where he also signed a toothless executive order on preexisting conditions that even his own Health and Human Services chief said carries no legal weight and will not protect Americans if Trump successfully gets the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

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"Nobody's seen this before, these cards are incredible," Trump said. "The cards will be mailed out in coming weeks, I will always take care of our wonderful senior citizens. Joe Biden won't be doing this."

White House aides told Politico that the funds for the cards would come from savings from an executive order Trump signed earlier this month that the administration claims will lower drug costs. But that program has yet to be enacted.

The New York Times reported that Trump had previously tried to get the drug industry to pay for $100 cards to send to Americans to lower drug costs — which have risen under Trump's leadership. However, the drug industry refused after the White House demanded the $100 cards be sent to seniors ahead of the election, fearing it would look like a transparent attempt to help Trump's reelection bid.

Public Citizen, which said Trump's announcement amounts to a bribe, said the cards are no solution to the problem of rising drug prices.

"The solution to high pharma prices is not giving people money to offset extortionate drug prices; the solution is to end price gouging altogether," the group tweeted.

Trump's prescription drug card announcement comes as he's seen his standing with senior voters plummet.

Polls show voters over the age of 65 — the biggest and most reliable voting bloc — are swinging toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Numerous polls have shown Biden ahead with the voting demographic, which Trump carried in 2016.

This is not the first time Trump has tried to transparently seek an important voting demographic by throwing money at them days before the election.

Last week, Trump announced he was sending billions in relief aid to Puerto Rico, despite blocking funds to the hard-hit island for years and decrying Puerto Ricans as "poor" and the island as "dirty."

Puerto Ricans are an important voting bloc in the critical swing state of Florida, which has seen an influx of Puerto Ricans migrate there after Hurricane Maria devastated the United States territory.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.