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Kudlow says Trump 'did not mean that he was eliminating the Social Security tax'

White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE “did not mean that he was eliminating the Social Security tax” with his coronavirus executive orders. 

Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the president will protect Social Security and Medicare after Trump vowed to make permanent his coronavirus executive orders’ cut in the payroll taxes, which help fund the programs. 

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CNN’s Dana BashDana BashRepublican Michigan congressman: 'The people have spoken' CNN's Dana Bash: Trump loss in Arizona would be 'John McCain's last laugh' Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE pushed the White House adviser, asking if Trump can protect the programs “and cut payroll taxes at the same time.”

“When he referred to 'permanent,' I think what he was saying is that the deferral of the payroll tax to the end of the year will be made permanent,” Kudlow said. “It will be forgiven. The tax is not going to go away.”

“Well, he said he will do away with it if he gets reelected,” Bash replied.

“I believe he was referring to doing away with the payback of the deferral,” Kudlow said, adding that he think's Trump's “intent” is “that we will take any steps possible to forgive this deferral. That’s what he was actually saying. We will protect Social Security. We will protect Medicare.”

“I just want to say that isn't what the president said at all. He said the opposite,” Bash countered.

“I think he meant the deferral would be forgiven,” the White House adviser responded. “I think he was saying that the savings on the deferral will be permanent. He did not mean that he was eliminating the Social Security tax.”

The president signed a series of executive orders on Saturday, including one that permits employers to defer payment of payroll taxes through 2020 for employees making less than about $100,000 annually. Trump then committed to make the cuts permanent if he is reelected. 

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE criticized Trump for that commitment, saying it would “undermine the entire financial footing of Social Security.”