13 Times Donald Trump Promised Not to Cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

The Republican budget plan, with its efforts to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, is not just immoral and bad economic policy. It violates numerous promises that Donald Trump made to the American people during his campaign — promises that he repeated again and again. Donald Trump made it a central part of his campaign that he would not cut these essential programs. He asked millions of working class and elderly people to vote for him on that promise, and they did. Trump now has a choice: He can tell the American people that these campaign promises were lies. Or he can instruct his Republican colleagues to end their efforts to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and inform them that if they don’t, he will veto any bills that cut those life-and-death programs.

1.July 25, 2011: “The Answer to both Social Security and Medicare is a robust growing economy — not cuts on the elderly.”

2. September 7, 2011: “A robust growing economy is how to fix Social Security and Medicare — not cuts on Seniors.”

3. December 5, 2011: “Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing [Social Security and Medicare] to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful ‘entitlement programs.’ But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth — that’s not an ‘entitlement,’ that’s honoring a deal. We as a society must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can’t make one for themselves.”

4. March 15, 2013: “As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen.”

5. January 24, 2015 : “I’m not a cutter. I’ll probably be the only Republican that doesn’t want to cut Social Security.”

6. April 18, 2015: “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut.”

7. May 7, 2015: “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

8. May 7, 2015: “Huckabee is a nice guy but will never be able to bring in the funds so as not to cut Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. I will.”

9. May 21, 2015: “I am going to save Social Security without any cuts. I know where to get the money from. Nobody else does.”

10. June 16, 2015: “[I will] save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it… People have been paying in for years, and now many of these candidates want to cut it.”

11. November 3, 2015: “I’ll save Social Security. I’ll save Medicare. Ben Carson wants to get rid of Medicare. You can’t get rid of Medicare. You know, Medicare’s a program that works. There’s fraud, there’s abuse, there’s waste, but you don’t get rid of Medicare. You can’t do that. People love Medicare. And it’s unfair to them… I’m not going to cut it.”

12. March 10, 2016: I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is… It’s my absolute intention to leave Social Security the way it is. Not increase the age and to leave it as is.”

13. March 29, 2016: “You know, Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down. And, frankly — well, two things. Number one, you’re going to lose the election if you’re going to do that … I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.”

BONUS: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

January 8, 2017: Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, said on Face the Nation: “I don’t think President-elect Trump wants to meddle with Medicare or Social Security. He made a promise during the campaign that that was something he didn’t want to do.”



Sanders is the junior senator from Vermont and the ranking member on the Budget Committee.

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Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders


Sen. Bernie Sanders is the longest serving independent in congressional history.