August 13, 2020
Contact: Linda Benesch, lbenesc[email protected]

When Donald Trump Says He Wants to Permanently Defund Social Security, Believe Him

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, in response to the White House attempting to walk back Donald Trump’s repeated statements that he will terminate payroll contributions, Social Security’s dedicated funding, if he is reelected:

This past Saturday, Donald Trump promised to permanently defund Social Security if he is reelected. On Monday, he doubled down on that pledge. His legal advisor tweeted enthusiastically about permanently terminating payroll contributions, as did his campaign account.

Now, in response to the political fallout, the White House is telling us not to believe our own eyes and ears. They insist that Trump did not mean what he said, and ”has no plans” to defund Social Security. So, let’s review the evidence.

Trump has been hostile to Social Security since long before he became President. Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and close economic adviser Stephen Moore also have long histories of hostility to Social Security. Once in Office, Trump’s proposed budgets included cuts to Social Security. Earlier this year, Trump told a room filled with Davos elites that he would look into cutting entitlements – code for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – if he is reelected.

Last week, Trump showed us how he would defund Social Security, when he unilaterally ordered the IRS to stop collecting Social Security contributions temporarily.  Once reelected, he could continue to defer collection “temporarily” on his own, until the Anti-Deficiency Act required all benefits to stop automatically.

At the same time, prior to running for office, Donald Trump showed he understood the politics of Social Security and Medicare. In a 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Trump warned that “you have to be very careful that the Republicans don’t go too far ahead in front because they are going to lose the…election…if that happens.”  Sure enough, he followed his own advice in 2016, promising he would not cut Social Security,  Medicare, or Medicaid. Now, with political fallout raining down on him, he is apparently backing off on his pledge to “terminate” Social Security’s funding unilaterally, which will terminate Social Security.

So, do you believe Trump when he is not thinking about getting elected or Trump when his advisors have realized defunding Social Security is political arsenic? Even if the answer somehow isn’t obvious, the only prudent course for people who care about their earned Social Security is to defeat Trump this November.”