Trump urges GOP to avoid cuts to Social Security, Medicare


Former President Donald Trump warned his party on Friday to avoid cuts to Medicare and Social Security, putting him at odds with prominent House Republicans who are pushing for big cuts to benefits programs and a host of others in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit.

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security,” Trump said in a video address released by his 2024 presidential campaign that lasted more than two minutes.

“While we absolutely must stop Biden’s out-of-control spending, the pain should be borne by Washington bureaucrats, not hard-working American families and American seniors,” Trump said. “Reduce waste, fraud and abuse wherever we can find it and there is a lot of it, there is plenty of it. But don’t cut the benefits our seniors have worked and paid for all their lives. Save Social Security, don’t destroy it.

Trump also proposed cuts to foreign aid, “leftist gender agendas from our military” and “billions spent on climate extremism.”

Trump’s message comes as House Republicans are newly emboldened trying to take advantage of the opposition over the debt limit extract major spending cuts, insisting that previous Congresses and administrations spent too much on social programs. Some GOP lawmakers have raised the prospect of seeking changes to popular entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare.

House Republicans are preparing an emergency plan to break the debt

Contrary to Trump’s claims, the national deficit has grown significantly during his tenure, in part because of tax cuts passed in 2017 at his insistence by the Republican-led Congress. In fact, the national debt grew by nearly $7.8 trillion while Trump was in office.

Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have voted to raise the debt ceiling three times during Trump’s administration without demanding spending cuts in return. The GOP’s demands for cuts — and threats of a debt default — happen when a Democrat is in the White House, like Barack Obama in 2011 and President Biden now.

On Thursday, the administration began “emergency measures” to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told lawmakers that officials would change certain federal investments to preserve the nation’s credit through the summer — largely through technical moves that would buy lawmakers time to pass legislation raising the limit.

Last year’s midterm electionss highlighted the political danger of advocating, or even appearing to advocate, cuts to popular benefit programs.

Democrats, including Biden, seized on a plan released by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) that called for requiring all legislation to be renewed every five years — or be struck off the books. Democrats emphasized that Social Security and Medicare were created by legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other top Republicans quickly distanced themselves from Scott’s plan.

At event after event, Biden accused Republicans of wanting to put the two programs “at the bottom,” pointing to Scott’s plan, even though it did not specifically call for cuts to Medicare or Social Security.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was critical of then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, for pushing for changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Actually, Trump he looked guilty Mitt Romney losing the 2012 presidential election to his running mate. Trump said Romney was hurt by Ryan’s previous calls to overhaul Social Security and other welfare programs for the elderly.

“That was the end of that campaign, by the way, when they picked Ryan,” Trump said in February 2016. “And I like him. He’s a good guy, but that was the end of the campaign.”

Shortly after Republican nominee Romney selected Ryan as his running mate, the progressive policy group Agenda Project Action Fund released an ad attacking Ryan’s position on Medicare that showed an elderly woman in a wheelchair being thrown off a cliff by a man in a dark suit. The message on the screen: “Mitt Romney has made his choice. … Now you have to make your own.”

Jacob Bogage and Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.

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