As some of the leading Democratic presidential candidates continue to clash over Social Security, President Trump said Wednesday that he would consider making adjustments to social safety net programs such as Medicare if he were to win a second term.
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, CNBC’s Joe Kernen asked Trump if entitlements would “ever be on your plate?”
“At some point they will be,” Trump said. “And at the right time, we will take a look at that.”
Alan Rappeport and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times noted that while Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to protect entitlements, his most recent budget proposed substantial cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security:
“The president has already proposed cuts for some safety-net programs. His last budget proposal called for a total of $1.9 trillion in cost savings from mandatory safety-net programs, like Medicaid and Medicare. It also called for spending $26 billion less on Social Security programs, the federal retirement program, including a $10 billion cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which provides benefits to disabled workers.”
Most of Trump’s rambling response to Kernen, though, was focused on what he called “the hottest economy in the world,” and the president provided no details on future budget plans. James Freeman of The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Trump did not actually mention cutting entitlement spending (much to Freeman’s disappointment), and that all he really said was that he would consider it in his second term.
Trump did say, however, that he wants to cut taxes again. Asked if he needs to raise taxes or lower spending to address the growing deficit, Trump said, “We’re actually probably going to lower taxes, if you want to know the truth.”