President Donald Trump flew into Louisville on Monday for a rally at Freedom Hall, where he made sweeping promises that included reducing taxes, putting coal miners back to work, cutting regulations to help American factories, and more. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell addressed the crowd of thousands before the president arrived.
Outside the Fair and Expo Center, the message of several hundred protestors was largely dwarfed by loud and proud Trump supporters, many of whom hurled insults like “Snowflake!” and “Get over it,” according to The Courier-Journal.
Lots of local Democrats weighed in on the president’s visit, with most focusing on health care. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released the following statement saying the Affordable Care Act needs to be improved, but adding that “TrumpCare” is not the solution and will result in 24 million Americans losing health coverage:
Metro Council Democrats voiced a similar message, urging the president to proceed slowly in repealing the ACA because of its potential impact on people — and the city’s budget. The Democratic Caucus held a press conference on Monday to deliver their talking points.
Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (D-2), chair of the Community Affairs, Housing, Health and Education Committee, stated: “President Trump said on the stump last year that government has totally failed our African-American friends, and to give him a chance, he’ll straighten it out, what do you have to lose? Well, Mr. President, health care is what we have to lose. Instead of giving alternative facts, tweets, and temper tantrums, we could have an honest discussion on strengthening Obamacare instead of decreasing options.”
Meanwhile, Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9) pointed out that from 2007 to 2014, the city made a net payment of more than $57 million to the Quality Care Charity Trust, averaging over $7 million annually. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, the local allocations dropped to $5 million in FY 15 and to nothing in FY 16 and last year,” he said. “University Hospital’s unreimbursed care percentage had plummeted from a pre-ACA high of 25 percent to 5 percent. We urge the president to slow down, listen to Republicans and Democrats, and protect our care.”
Steve Beshear — the former Kentucky governor behind the once-lauded (by some) but now-defunct state health exchange Kynect — had this to say following Trump’s visit:
“It doesn’t matter how many times the president and his surrogates come to Kentucky, they can’t change the independent and overwhelming evidence that the ACA is working here. People now have coverage, they’re receiving care, their health is improving and Kentucky’s economy has benefited. The partisan push to destroy the ACA and ram through an ill-conceived replacement is going to hurt millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. Congress needs to slow down and approach this issue in a thoughtful way that puts people over politics.”
The Kentucky Democratic Party weighed in, too:
Republicans, for the most part, were pleased as punch with the president’s visit. (One notable exception: Sen. Rand Paul, who spent much of Monday speaking out against the GOP’s health care plan. He skipped the Freedom Hall rally and flew back to D.C. to continue lobbying against the proposal.)
Gov. Bevin had the opportunity to spend some time with the president on Air Force One:
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) March 21, 2017
As did Congressman James Comer, who said the two planned to discuss health care:
Honored to board Air Force One to fly to Kentucky with President Trump. We are going to discuss healthcare policy. pic.twitter.com/38AvjGhlSj
— James Comer (@KYComer) March 20, 2017
And we’ll leave you with this video montage from the rally. It’s set to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones (which, The L.A. Times pointed out, is pretty darn dark).
Thank you Louisville, Kentucky. Together, we will MAKE AMERICA SAFE AND GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/qGgWEWUvek
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2017