Former President Trump on Wednesday attacked new Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, his former United Nations ambassador, for her previous support of cutting Medicare and Social Security.
In an email titled “The Real Nikki Haley” sent minutes after her official campaign launch event, the Trump campaign noted Haley supported former Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to eliminate Medicare and turn it into a voucher system.
He also highlighted a 2010 Fox News interview where Haley indicated Congress should be looking to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Trump has leaned into attacking his current and potential 2024 rivals on entitlements, looking to exploit divisions in the Republican Party over the issue — just as President Biden and the Democrats are doing.
Biden used his State of the Union address last week to accuse Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, baiting them into loudly booing his remarks.
Trump is pushing a similar attack on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not officially declared his candidacy but is seen as Trump’s main rival for the 2024 GOP nomination.
While Republicans have long favored cutting or even eliminating Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Trump’s 2016 campaign marked a stark recalibration of those long-held positions, beginning on the very first day of his candidacy in 2015 when he vowed to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — without cuts.”
But as president, every one of his White House budget proposals included cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs.
Republican leaders are facing pressure from their right flank to slash federal spending and rein in deficits, and entitlements have emerged as ground zero in that debate.