'We ran out of time,' an official with the Trump administration said.
Donald Trump will not keep his promise to provide older Americans $200 prescription drug gift cards. He announced the multibillion-dollar program last year, as polls showed him shedding voters over 65.
Politico reported on Thursday that the administration has abandoned efforts to send out the cards before Trump leaves office next Tuesday.
"It would take days to get all the sign-offs we still need, plus the time to print the letters and make the cards," an unnamed official told the outlet. "We ran out of time."
Trump promised in September that he would find a way to unilaterally send $200 cards to senior citizens to help them pay for their medications — even though Congress had not authorized the program.
"Nobody's seen this before, these cards are incredible," he bragged. "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."
The watchdog group Public Citizen called the announcement a "pathetic attempt to bribe voters" just before the November 2020 elections.
Like most of his campaign promises, the plan hit snags when he actually had to turn it from rhetoric to reality. The administration struggled to get the necessary approvals, though as recently as mid-December, they vowed to start sending out the cards by Jan. 1.
After his botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump's poll numbers with older Americans took a major hit. Pre-election surveys showed many in the group swinging hard from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020.
It's unclear whether the drug card promise made any difference to voters, but 2020 exit polls showed Trump won among voters age 65 and up by a 52% to 47% margin. This was closer than his eight-point margin with the group in his 2016 race against Hillary Clinton.
This is not the first time Trump has promised money to someone and skipped out on the bill — a hallmark of his career.
His campaign repeatedly refused to reimburse localities for security costs after his rallies. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Trump has even stiffed his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — instructing his staff not to pay his legal bills.
President-elect Biden promised to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.