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Two Words Donald Trump Hopes Will Get Him Back Into the White House

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear, Arizona.

Who could Donald Trump retake the White House?

Could a slow economy help Trump?

He might have a better plan to attract more support: not cutting social security. 

Donald Trump has been complicating GOP politics for a long time. Now, the former president is complicating the GOP message over a hot-button issue: whether to cut Medicare and Social Security

Trump’s “attacks on potential GOP primary opponents, and his warning to party leaders to stay away from the popular entitlement programs in their push to cut spending, are cleaving Republicans at every level,” POLITICO reported. “Lawmakers who once backed entitlement overhauls are now openly at odds with colleagues who’d prefer to soften their positions before they face voters in 2024.”

Donald Trump Splits the GOP on Entitlements

The traditional GOP stance on entitlement programs, like Medicare and Social Security, was to reduce them, or cut them, for the purpose of reducing government spending, balancing the budget, lowering taxes, and all of that.

Donald Trump, however, has drawn a line in the sand, creating two camps in the GOP with respect to entitlements. 

The traditional camp wants to cut entitlements. And the Trump camp, which claims to support preserving entitlements.

To make the distinction between the two camps as stark as possible, Donald Trump did what he does best: he insulted the other side.

Specifically, Trump referred to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a member of the traditional camp, as a “wheelchair over the cliff kind of guy.”

Trump is referring to the votes DeSantis made as a member of Congress, to gradually raise Medicare’s eligibility age.

Similarly, Trump has criticized other prospective 2024 opponents for their entitlement positions. Trump ripped on Nikki Haley, for example, for ten-year-old comments that merely considered cutting entitlements in order to keep the government small.

Donald Trump also criticized his former vice president Mike Pence, who told CNBC months back that entitlements should be “on the table in the long term.” 

While Trump’s line drawing is politically beneficial to Donald Trump, some Republicans are irritated to see the GOP being divided so casually.

“It got [Trump] elected the first time, and I think it will get him elected the second time,” Senator Chuck Grassley, a traditional camp guy, said months back, “but it doesn’t do anything for our children and grandchildren that aren’t going to have a program that I’m enjoying right now.”

“We need an adult as president who is going to take on the tough challenges, the tough problems, and be prepared to share with the American people how serious it is. That we use facts. And not scare tactics,” Senator Mike Rounds, a member of the Senate’s working group on entitlements, said a few months back as well.

Some Republicans are moving in Trump’s direction, however, in demonstrating a willingness to leave entitlement programs alone.

“I distinctly remember somebody basically ran a presidential campaign on this in 2012: the Paul Ryan budget, the austerity budget,” Senator Josh Hawley said. “I don’t’ recall that ticket performing very well. I personally don’t care to go back to that.”

Senator J.D. Vance, a Trump endorsee, said that cutting entitlements would be “politically stupid.”

Is Donald Trump Authentic?

Trump talks a big game about preserving entitlements – but his actions betray a willingness to cut entitlement programs. Trump’s 2021 budget, for example, as has been noted in news reports, “sought steep safety net cuts, including tens of billions of dollars in reductions to Social Security benefits for disabled workers and Medicare changes designed to yield about $500 billion in savings without reducing benefits.”

So, is Trump sincere when he says he doesn’t want to cut entitlements? Personally, I’m not going to use my 2024 vote to find out.

I appreciate that Trump is driving the GOP to consider preserving entitlements – but I ultimately don’t trust Trump much more than I trust Paul Ryan or Chuck Grassley to protect Medicare or Social Security.  

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken. 

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.