Just over 24 hours after threatening to cut Social Security at the World Economic Forum's annual gathering of global elites in Davos, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to "save" the New Deal-era program from supposed Democratic efforts to "destroy" it—prompting Sen. Bernie Sanders to accuse the president of peddling "more lies."
"Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security," Trump wrote on Twitter. "I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!"
Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate and long-time advocate of Social Security expansion, responded by pointing in a tweet to Trump's 2020 budget proposal, which called for $25 billion in cuts to Social Security and trillions more in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
In a separate tweet late Thursday, Sanders posted a video contrasting the president's comments at Davos with then-candidate Trump's pledge in 2015 to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from cuts backed by Republicans in Congress.
"As a candidate, Trump said he'd protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid," Sanders wrote. "Now he has an obligation to tell the American people: 'I was lying. It was all just a campaign ruse.'"
As a candidate, Trump said he'd protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Now he has an obligation to tell the American people: "I was lying. It was all just a campaign ruse." pic.twitter.com/670Cl9exuI
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 24, 2020
As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration is currently pursuing changes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that, if implemented, could terminate crucial benefits for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.
The public comment period on the administration's proposed rule change—which would make it more difficult for people with disabilities and other serious ailments to receive Social Security payments—ends Jan. 31. Comments can be left here.
Opponents of the rule change, from progressive advocacy groups to the tens of thousands who have left public comments on the rule change, warned that it would have deadly consequences for those who rely on Social Security benefits to afford basic necessities.
"Donald Trump and his advisers know that this will kill people, and they do not care," Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, told Common Dreams. "Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal, or else all of our earned benefits will be next."
Even by Trump standards, this is a horrific lie.
He's currently trying to rip Social Security benefits away from hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities.
Submit a comment to SSA opposing Trump's cuts here: https://t.co/2SpTP4fhHx https://t.co/GpSOrJujjW
— SocialSecurityWorks (@SSWorks) January 23, 2020
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is also in the process of crafting separate SSDI changes that would "tighten eligibility requirements for disability benefits, especially for older Americans."
"The proposal being prepared by the Social Security Administration would revise eligibility for disability benefits based on age, education, and work experience," reported the Journal, which viewed a draft of the plan. "Those factors determined the eligibility of about 500,000 people in 2017, according to the latest available data. More than eight million people currently receive disability payments."
Social Security has become a major topic in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, with Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hitting former Vice President Joe Biden over his decades-long record of advocating cuts to the popular New Deal-era program.
"Let's be honest, Joe," Sanders tweeted earlier this week. "One of us fought for decades to cut Social Security, and one of us didn't."