Former President Trump on Friday urged Republicans in Congress not to cut “a single penny” from Medicare or Social Security, a notable warning as some GOP lawmakers prepare to use the debt ceiling debate as leverage to try to secure spending cuts.
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree, which is more reckless than anybody’s ever done or had in the history of our country,” Trump said in a recorded video statement posted to Truth Social.
The former president, who in November launched a 2024 White House campaign, called for cuts to a slew of other areas, including funding for “corrupt foreign countries,” “climate extremism,” “left-wing gender programs from our military” and “waste, fraud and abuse everywhere we can find it.”
He lambasted Biden’s spending agenda, though the national debt increased by roughly $7 trillion during the Trump administration.
“While we absolutely need to stop Biden’s out of control spending, the pain should be borne by Washington bureaucrats, not by hard-working American families and American seniors,” Trump said. “The seniors are being absolutely destroyed in the last two years.”
The former president’s message about protecting Social Security and Medicare is consistent with his previous comments on the issue as a candidate in 2016. But Friday’s video dropped as Republicans in Congress are readying for a fight over raising the debt limit, with some conservatives arguing cuts or reforms to Social Security and Medicare should be on the table in order to balance spending.
Trump’s comments on the social safety net are also in line with the message coming from the Biden White House. Biden has repeatedly warned Republicans may try to cut programs including Social Security and Medicare and vowed to veto any such efforts. The White House has been adamant that it will not negotiate lifting the debt ceiling with conditions, such as spending cuts.
The U.S. hit its debt limit this week, and the Treasury Department this week enacted “extraordinary measures” to continue to pay its debts, giving lawmakers until June to reach a deal to raise the limit. The debt ceiling accounts for money the government has already spent and approved, not future spending.
Democrats approached Trump’s comments with skepticism.
“Donald Trump’s own record speaks for itself: Every year he was in office, Trump proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare programs,” Rhyan Lake, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “Americans overwhelmingly rejected the MAGA agenda of gutting Social Security, Medicare, and affordable health care in 2018, 2020, and 2022, and will do so again.”
Updated at 12:53 p.m.