Donald Trump ran for president as a different kind of Republican. During the primary, he stood out from the crowd by promising to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. He went on to make that promise a centerpiece of his general election campaign.
Even before the election, there was good reason to be extremely skeptical of Trump’s promise. After all, prior to running, he had called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, said that “privatization would be good for all of us,” and, in true elitist fashion, called for raising the retirement age to age 70, because “how many times will you really want to take that trailer to the Grand Canyon?” Moreover, he selected Mike Pence as his vice president. Pence has a long record of attacking Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Indeed, Pence criticized Bush’s Social Security privatization proposal for not going far enough, fast enough!
It is clear that Trump understands how popular these programs are. Social Security has famously been called the third rail of politics – go after it and your political career is dead. In a 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Trump said he was on board with plans to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — but that Republicans should be very careful “not to fall into the Democratic trap” by doing it in the open, without bipartisan cover, or they would pay the price politically.
So, did Trump mean what he said during the campaign? Or, did he say what he needed to in order to get elected, knowing all along he would break his campaign promise? Unfortunately, It looks like the latter. After only 100 days in office, he has already jeopardized his promise to the American people in at least five ways.