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Donald Trump Suggests Cutting Retirement Programs In Incoherent Ramble

WASHINGTON ― Former president Donald Trump seemed to suggest he favored cutting retirement programs such as Social Security and Medicare in a rambling answer he gave during a TV interview on Monday.

CNBC’s Joe Kernan asked Trump, who has previously said he opposes cutting so-called entitlement spending, if he had changed his outlook given the ballooning national debt.

“So first of all, there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting, and in terms of also the theft and the bad management of entitlements, tremendous bad management of entitlements,” Trump said. “There’s tremendous amounts of things and numbers of things you can do.”

It’s not clear what Trump meant by “cutting” or by “theft” or by “bad management of entitlements.” His answer continued for several more minutes and ranged across several other topics, including COVID and ISIS. Kernan’s next questions were about Bitcoin.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates seized on Trump’s remarks.

“As the President just warned in his State of the Union address, Republican officials plan to cut Medicare and Social Security,” Bates said in a statement blasted out to reporters. “Cutting the Medicare and Social Security benefits that Americans have paid to earn their whole lives ― only to make room for yet more unaffordable, trickle down tax giveaways to the super wealthy ― is exactly backwards.”

During his rise to power, Trump differentiated himself from other Republicans by pledging no cuts to popular retirement programs (though he did favor cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance). Republicans have mostly fallen in line behind Trump. Congressional Republicans seemed to consider retirement program cuts during a budget standoff last year until Trump told them not to.

During his State of the Union Address last week, President Joe Biden accused Republicans of wanting to cut entitlement programs, prompting audible protests from Republicans in the audience.

“If anyone here tries to cut Social Security or Medicare or raise the retirement age, I will stop you,” Biden said.

On his social media platform, Trump responded, “Republicans have no plan to cut Social Security, a made up story by Crooked Joe!”

Social Security and Medicare are both solvent through the early 2030s, according to the Social Security Administration. In 2033, reserves will deplete and incoming tax revenue will cover only 77% of Social Security benefits.

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