As It Happens

The 'Trump Troubadour' — who lost a son to heroin addiction — says the president has let him down

The man known for literally singing Donald Trump's praises says he feels betrayed by a health-care plan that could leave poor opioid addicts with no access to treatment.
Kraig Moss sings a song in support of Trump outside his truck on Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. The so-called 'Trump Troubadour' is no longer a fan of the president. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Story transcript

The man who made a name for himself by literally singing Donald Trump's praises says he feels betrayed by the U.S. president. 

"Believe me, I've gained a lot of Trump hater friends, and I don't hate Donald Trump by any means, but I don't trust him any more and he's lost my confidence that he's going to do what he says he's going to do," Kraig Moss told As It Happens host Carol Off . "He didn't stick true to his word."

Moss, a.k.a. "The Trump Troubadour," followed Trump to 45 campaign stops in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. election, crooning country songs about the then-Republican candidate on his acoustic guitar. 

But the Owego, N.Y., man has set aside his instrument after learning that the proposed Republican health-care plan would strip mental health and addiction treatment coverage from Medicaid, the federal program that provides medical services to low-income citizens.

Moss lost his 24-year-old son to a heroin overdose three years ago. 

First-time voter

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to tackle the heroin problem in the U.S., not only by building a U.S.-Mexico border wall to stem the flow of narcotics into the country, but by expanding access to rehabilitation services.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump specifically addressed Moss.

"In all fairness to your son, it's a tough thing. Some very, very strong people have not been able to get off [heroin]," Trump called out to Moss in the crowd, according to CNN. "The biggest thing we can do in honour of your son ... we have to be able to stop it."

That promise inspired Moss to cast his ballot for Trump. It was his first time voting. 

"[Trump] spoke specifically that that was part of his agenda, and not only me but every person in New Hampshire and Vermont and Connecticut, where this problem is rampant as well. He spoke with all those folks up there, let them know this was top priority for him on his agenda was to take care of this heroin epidemic," Moss said.

Kraig Moss, pictured here on March 29, 2016, in Janesville, Wis., wants the president to make rehab and addiction services affordable for everyone. ( Scott Olson/Getty Images)

"Instead he comes out with this health-care plan that's nothing like he talked about it was gonna be. They may be revamping it right now and I hope I have a say. I hope I'm a cause of them going back to the roundtable and putting together a better plan."

While a wall to halt the flow of drugs into the U.S. is "a good start," Moss says the federal government should do more to help the people already suffering from addiction by making rehab more affordable and funding the distribution of emergency overdose kits to small communities — policies that may have saved his son.

Shame over immigration raids

In the meantime, Moss has given away all the signed Trump merchandise he picked up during his troubadour days. "And I didn't ask a penny for them," he said.

He doesn't regret the time he spent on the campaign trail, where he says he reached a lot of people with his message about addiction.

Kraig Moss sings in front of a large painting by artist Julian Raven during a Truckers for Trump convoy event in Des Moines, Iowa. The former Trump supporter has since given away all his Trump merchandise. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

But he does regret voting for Trump and inspiring others to follow suit — and not only because of the health-care plan. 

"My efforts following Donald Trump are not wasted and I'm not ashamed of that, but to think that I may have caused a family to be disrupted because their mother or father were in this country illegally and, you know, been working for the last five years and not gotten in trouble, and to think that I caused those families to be split up and the children to be left behind — I'm not happy about that."

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