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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called out President Donald Trump for his lies about Social Security and Medicare this week. (Photo: Paul Morigi/Brookings/cc)

In Single Tweet, Bernie Sanders Debunks Trump's Lies About Social Security and Medicare

The president claimed this week that he and Republican lawmakers are "going to protect your Social Security" and are "saving Medicare."

Jessica Corbett

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turned to Twitter Friday evening to call out President Donald Trump's latest lies that he is "going to protect your Social Security" and Republicans are "saving Medicare" from Democrats' supposed efforts to "destroy" the social safety net programs—which actually have been consistently targeted by the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers.

Debunking Trump's remarks from two events this week, Sanders—known as a champion of Medicare for All and legislation that aims to improve the lives of low-income people—shared screenshots of several news articles detailing the Trump administration and Republican politicians' ongoing efforts to dismantle programs which provide benefits to older and impoverished Americans.

"Trump's budget cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, breaking core campaign promise," declares a ThinkProgress headline from February, while the title of a November Los Angeles Times article reads, "Sen. Rubio tells a secret: After giving a tax cut to the rich, GOP will cut Social Security and Medicare."

At a Thursday night campaign rally in Montana for GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, according to the New York Times, Trump claimed that Democratic elected officials are

going to hurt your Social Security so badly, and they're killing you on Medicare. Just remember that. I'm going to protect your Social Security. We're going to take care of your Social Security. We're going to take care of your Social Security. Matt Rosendale is going to make sure we’re not touching your Social Security and your Medicare is only going one way. That's stronger. They're going to end up taking it away from you, and you won't even know what happened.

The Times noted that the president also had said on Wednesday:

The Democrats will destroy Social Security. We're saving Medicare. The Democrats want to destroy Medicare. If you look at what they're doing, they're going to destroy Medicare. And we will save it. We will keep it going. We're making it stronger. We're making Social Security stronger.

Contrary to Trump's public comments this week, his administration and Republicans in Congress—who gave rich Americans and corporations $1.5 trillion in tax cuts last year—diligently have worked to undermine the nation's already inadequate social safety net programs.

In February, as Common Dreams reported, "the White House unveiled its 2019 budget (pdf) blueprint that calls for $1.7 trillion in cuts to crucial safety net programs over the next decade—including $237 billion in cuts to Medicare alone."

A "scathing" United Nations report published earlier this summer outlined how Trump and Republican lawmakers are waging, in the words of the report's author, "a systematic attack on America's welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can't cope on their own," all while crafting legislation to benefit the richest Americans at the expense of the poorest.

In July, the Trump administration proclaimed that the "War on Poverty" was "largely over," despite millions of Americans still living in poverty. Anti-poverty advocates and experts quickly rebuked the administration's claim, charging that it came as "part of a carefully calculated strategy to reinforce myths about the people these programs order to make them easier to cut."

Sanders and many Democrats, meanwhile, are working to save and even dramatically overhaul and expand such programs. In an op-ed published this week, Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) asserted, "The government has a moral responsibility to provide for the vulnerable—the children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled."

"At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, and when millions of our fellow Americans are working at starvation wages," they concluded, "we must create an economy that works for all—not just the people on top."

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