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Trump says he will 'save' Social Security after signaling openness to entitlement cuts
President Trump on Thursday sought to assure his followers on Twitter that he would protect Social Security benefits after Democrats seized on an interview in which he indicated he would be open to cutting entitlement programs down the road.
Trump told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he would "take a look at" rolling back entitlements "at the right time" before quickly pivoting to discuss the strength of the economy.
But the indication that he was open to cutting government programs like Social Security and Medicare provided Democrats with an opening that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) latched onto.
"The president promised that unlike other Republicans, he wouldn't touch Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. He's already broken that promise and gone after Medicare. Now it looks like Social Security is in the president's crosshairs as well," Schumer said at the outset of a press conference to discuss the Senate impeachment trial.
"Even as this important trial continues, Americans should hear that the president is casually talking about cutting their Social Security at a Swiss ski resort with the global financial elite," Schumer added.
Trump responded on Thursday afternoon by saying that Social Security was not in danger.
"Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!" Trump tweeted.
Conservatives and budget hawks have long sought to roll back large government programs like Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to rein in the debt.
The president vowed on the campaign trail prior to taking office that he would not cut funding for entitlement programs. He has at times signaled he would be willing to do so in a second term, but White House officials have consistently pushed back on the suggestion that he is preparing to do so definitively.
Trump has targeted programs like Medicaid in other ways, however. The administration is poised to introduce a way for states to block grant Medicaid money and previously pushed through approvals for states seeking to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients.