President Donald Trump vowed on the campaign trail to "protect and save" social safety net programs, but many of his appointees have called for the opposite, The New York Times reports.
"I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare," Trump said in November, only two days before the election, at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa. "You made a deal a long time ago, a long time ago."
"I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is," Trump said in one of the Republican presidential debates last March. "I want to leave Social Security as is, I want to make our country rich again so we can afford it."
Trump also promised to introduce a benefit for paid maternity leave, and to refrain from making cuts to Medicaid. However, his White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, once called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme."
During his confirmation hearing in January, when asked if he would encourage Trump to keep these campaign promises, Mulvaney said, "The only thing I know to do is tell the President the truth," according to Talking Points Memo.
The secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, supported changing Medicaid to a state grant and Medicare to a voucher program. Ben Carson, his choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has frequently said that government aid is linked to dependency.
"The appointments that he's made are troublesome and very, very scary," Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. "He made a pledge and sort of delineated himself from the rest of the Republican field by saying these things. Everything he's done since he's been elected is very worrisome."
Some, like North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows and Jeff Duncan, will be keeping an eye on Trump's administration.
"It was really about making sure that those people who are getting benefits or about to get benefits are protected," Meadows, the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told the Times. "If we do nothing, [Trump] will not save Medicare and Social Security."
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