Politics - News Analysis

Trump Just Admitted He’s Looking to Cut Medicare and Social Security if He’s Re-Elected

Donald Trump left the door open to overhauling Social Security and Medicare in a CNBC interview on Wednesday, calling any attempt to rein in entitlement spending as “the easiest of all things.”

Trump made the remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he’s touted a message of economic resurgence at the elite gathering of wealthy investors, business titans and academics.

In the interview, the president said entitlement reform could happen at the “right” moment and appeared to credit the strength of the US economy for providing momentum to shrink spending on two of the nation’s biggest government programs.

“At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things, if you look,” he told CNBC’s Joe Kernen. “Well, we’re going — we’re going look. We also have — assets that we’ve never had. I mean we’ve never had growth like this.”

The CNBC interview, however, provided few details and little clarity on what shape entitlement reforms could take. Though it’s proved resilient, the US economy is far from the best it’s ever been compared to his predecessors.

Trump, though, recently showed disdain for attempts to rein in the swelling federal deficit, telling donors at a Florida fundraiser, “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.”

Any initiative to cut spending on Social Security and Medicare would mark a break from his 2016 campaign pledge to protect funding for those programs. In his formal campaign announcement, Trump said: “Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.”

Well, unsurprisingly, that didn’t sit well with his Democratic opponents, who quickly pounced on the comment.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is one of the leading candidates in the Democratic presidential primary, used Trump’s words to call for an expansion of such programs, while the House Ways and Means Committee called the suggestion “unacceptable.” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) thinks it’s a warning from Trump that people should take seriously.

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