Ahead of Pence’s visit, U.S. Sen. Nelson, State Sen. Stewart, Senior Advocates Slam Trump Admin for Failing Senior Floridians

Dennis Foley, member of The Villages Democratic Club: “Our mantra, if you will, is ‘all gas and no breaks’ for the next 25 days.”

Ahead of Pence’s visit to Orlando and The Villages today, former Senator Bill Nelson, State Senator Linda Stewart, Yolanda Russell, president of the Democratic Senior Caucus of Florida, Lorraine Tuliano, president of the Orlando Chapter of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, discussed Donald Trump’s failure to manage the coronavirus crisis and his broken promises on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other crucial issues facing seniors in Florida. 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

“I remembered the very memorable line from the child novel, “Alice in Wonderland.” And that memorable line is “it’s curiouser and curiouser” as Alice was commenting on her make believe world that was so unreal. And indeed, those lines apply to Trump and Pence coming to Florida, particularly talking to senior citizens, because of three very obvious things: COVID, Social Security and Medicare.

“…On Social Security, Trump over and over has proposed getting rid of the payroll tax. That’s what funds the Social Security trust fund. And he has proposed in his four years, over and over, to wack Medicare. What more do you need?…It’s beginning to be curiouser and curiouser.” 

State Senator Linda Stewart

“As the person in charge of the White House coronavirus task force, Pence just has been ineffective and he could care less about what goes on with seniors here in Florida. He has failed in every way possible. In February, he was appointed, and since then, we’ve had 15,000 Floridians who have died from COVID-19 and more than 720,000 who have been infected. How you can just sweep that whole thing away as if nothing is going on here, I just don’t see how that is even possible. 

“Our people, those that have died, those that we care for who have died, we are not going to forget this…Senior communities have been devastated by this, close to 40% of the total deaths in Florida have been residents and staff in nursing homes and long term care facilities. We can’t sweep that under the rug. Trump has failed in so many ways in his mismanagement of this virus, and the outbreak has been significant…they won’t take responsibility for anything…”

“Seniors need someone we can trust to protect our health and safety during this unprecedented time. Donald Trump has proven he is not up to the task.  Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a record of steady, strong leadership during this crisis. We need Joe Biden. We need to elect him. Seniors are counting on him.” 

Yolanda Russell, president of the Democratic Senior Caucus of Florida

“The cost of living has gone up, especially here in Florida, and payments for Social Security have not kept up, and I know that’s one of the things that Joe Biden has talked about addressing…so we have quite a few seniors living at or below the poverty level.”

“…Everything that we know now about 45, we knew about him before he ran for office, so I don’t know why anyone is surprised that he has made promises about saving and sustaining Social Security and has not done anything other than try and dismantle that program at every opportunity. Every budget he has submitted since he has been in office has included cuts for Social Security. Everything that we know about Joe Biden, we’ve known for 40 years. So the same thing applies. We know what he will do when he gets to office and we know that he is an honest person, and he will do what he says he’s going to do, and seniors can rely on him and I believe and trust in him.” 

Lorraine Tuliano, president of the Orlando Chapter of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

“It’s been a rather devastating seven months. We are staying home, we only go out for necessities… I haven’t seen my mother and my family for seven months… I don’t think the Trump administration understands how regular people live.”  

“One of the things that I think is particularly egregious about this administration is his attacks on health care. I’m fairly lucky I retired from the government so I still have my government health insurance, but most of our seniors actually depend upon Medicare for their needs when they’re 85 and older. They depend on Social Security for their living expenses.” 

“Florida seniors now hold the keys to the White House. We are turning more and more towards Joe Biden, [who] has a plan that will combat the coronavirus pandemic. He’s got a plan to strengthen Social Security. The Affordable Care Act has lowered our health care costs since it’s been implemented. Trump is actually threatening our health care, and we can’t afford another four years of his reckless leadership.” 

Dennis Foley, member of The Villages Democratic Club: 

“I’ve seen in the last several months is growing enthusiasm among Democrats in The Villages —  more participation and more activity. Just this week, we held a large golf cart caravan where more than 300, some estimates as high as 500 golf carts gathered and did a parade to the county supervisor elections office so they could all drop off their filled out and sealed vote by mail ballots. 

“…Those are the more visible activities, but the quiet stuff is where we really are working hard. The quiet stuff like making phone calls to get out the vote. So we have scores of people making thousands of calls a day to people who have received their ballot, urging them to get their ballots in the mail before October 15 or even better, hand deliver them.” 

“So that enthusiasm is translating, I think, into votes to help turn Florida blue. While Mike Pence is here today, we’ll be making more calls to [voters]… Our mantra is, if you will, is ‘all gas and no breaks’ for the next 25 days.” 

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