Flanked by dozens of his employees at Trump National Doral golf course in Florida, the Republican nominee seized on Monday’s announcement that Obamacare premiums would increase by double digits.
“This election is going to be about Obamacare -- it’s going to be about jobs; it’s going to be about a lot of things,” Trump said. “But Obamacare is just blowing up, and even the White House, our president, announced 25 or 26 percent. That number is so wrong. That is such a phony number. You’re talking about 60,70, 80 percent in increases, not 25 percent.”
The federal government announced Monday that the average premium increase would be 25 percent for plans across the 39 states that are run by the federal government.
“The numbers came out in Texas where it’s 60 percent increases, and other places, other states,” Trump declared. “One state is going to be 92 percent I understand. So I think that they wanted to put out—pretty sad when you put out a 25 or 26 percent increase, and that’s supposed to be to keep it down.” Trump promised to repeal and replace it with a plan that would be “something much less expensive for the people.”
After the event, asked by reporters whether he provided health insurance for all of his employees (he claimed during his remarks that there are at least 1,200 employed at Doral), he said, “Yeah, I do.”
Then, another reporter followed up and asked, “So none of them are on Obamacare?” he first said “No,” and then added, “Well, some of them are, but most of them, no.”
As he stood on golf course at Doral, Trump also asked a handful of employees to offer testimonials about their work for him, and he joked that they’d be fired if they didn’t say something nice about him. Trump said 80 percent of his workers were of Hispanic origin.
Insisting it wasn’t rehearsed, Trump invited employees to the microphone to offer their support.
One put on a “Make America Great Again” cap. Another said he supported Trump, though his family did not. And a bartender said she “loved” working for Trump.
Some 1.6 million Floridians had already voted in the election by the time Trump was speaking at Doral Tuesday morning. On Monday, 300,000 cast ballots at early voting sites, the first day it was offered in 50 of Florida’s 67 counties, and 1.3 million votes have mailed in their ballots.
So far Republicans have a slight edge in early voting. Numbers show more than 665,000 Republicans have cast ballots compared to more than 658,000 Democrats. Nearly 251,000 voters with no party affiliation have voted.
Both presidential candidates have been sweeping through the state, which shows a tight race between the two. Trump is rallying in Sanford and Tallahassee, in addition to his appearance at Doral, which was as much a Trump advertisement as it was a campaign event. Clinton rallies in Coconut Creek Tuesday.
Trump has frequently mixed his campaign and business interests as he touts his ability to create jobs. On Wednesday, he has a similar dual-purpose event planned -- the official opening of his new hotel in Washington, which had a soft launch in September.
CBS News’ Sopan Deb and Phoebe Wiener contributed to this story.