Shortly after he announced he was running for president in 2015, Donald Trump swore he would never cut Social Security, declaring:
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. Every other Republican’s going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do. I do.”
And yet in early March when he appeared on Fox News for a town hall meeting, Trump had this to say on the matter of entitlements such as Social Security:
“Oh, we’ll be cutting. We’re also going to have growth like you’ve never seen before.”
A day later, when he realized he was running for reelection and needs the votes of senior citizens, Trump tried to walk back what he said the night before, tweeting out this denial:
I will protect your Social Security and Medicare, just as I have for the past 3 years. Sleepy Joe Biden will destroy both in very short order, and he won’t even know he’s doing it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2020
But as it turns out, if we’d been listening more closely a month earlier when Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin testified before the Senate Finance Committee, we’d have known that Social Security was on the chopping block.
Asked by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) about the White House’s budget for fiscal year 2021 and the massive cuts over the next decade in Social Security, Mnuchin tried desperately to call those cuts something else. He said:
“I believe it’s not a cut, it’s a reduction in the rate of increase. And it’s not to the benefits of people on Social Security.”
The Nevada senator was having none of Mnuchin’s double talk, telling him:
“If that is not a cut, then I would love to talk to you about what it is this administration values and what they see, how these groups and important individuals in our communities are being affected. My concern is this administration says one thing, but their actions are just the opposite.”
Alex Lawson, executive director of progressive advocacy group Social Security Works, says both Mnuchin and Trump are lying:
“When Steve Mnuchin or any other politician says that a ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ is different than a benefit cut, they are shamelessly lying. If Social Security benefits were to stay flat every year, they would quickly begin losing value due to inflation. We need to make annual cost-of-living adjustments more generous, not less.
“Any ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ would lead to benefit cuts.”
If Trump wins a second term in office, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be cut to the bone. As Trump himself confessed behind closed doors when he met with then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and was asked about slashing entitlements:
“From a moral standpoint, I believe in it.”
The most immoral man to ever hold the office of president is coming for the benefits you worked decades to earn. And the only way we can stop him is at the ballot box.