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Trump Signals Willingness to Reform Social Security, Medicare: ‘We Will Take a Look at That’

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he walks out of the Marine One helicopter as he arrives for the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

President Trump on Wednesday indicated he may be considering reforming programs like social security and Medicare, signaling a possible break from his campaign pledge not to curtail entitlement spending.

Speaking with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked whether he would cut entitlements at some point.

“Will entitlements ever be on your plate?” asked interviewer Joe Kernen.

“At some point they will be,” Trump responded. “At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s the easiest of all things [to cut].” Trump went on to suggest that strong economic growth under his administration would make entitlement cuts more palatable to the American public.

In his 2016 presidential campaign Trump promised not to cut government entitlements. “Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts,” read a Trump campaign announcement in that year.

“Huckabee is a nice guy but will never be able to bring in the funds so as not to cut Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. I will,” Trump wrote in a 2015 tweet before he entered the presidential race.

In March of 2019, Trump proposed $1.9 trillion in cuts to programs like social security and Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office projected spending on social safety-net programs to top $30 trillion through 2029.

Republicans and other administration officials have been generally more cautious in speaking about whether the administration intends to roll back spending on entitlement programs.

“All I’m going to say is that we talked about there needs to be bipartisan review of government spending and that’s something at the appropriate time we’ll look at,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC earlier in January.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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