SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Utah Sen. Mike Lee has responded to criticism he recently received on social media after users resurfaced comments he made in 2010 about wanting to “pull up” and “get rid of” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The 2010 comments resurfaced after Lee was shown during President Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday. During the speech, the president said some Republicans want to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. Lee’s apparent reaction to the president’s claim, which can be seen in various social media posts this week, was that of disbelief.

In a snippet of the 2010 video, Lee can be seen telling a crowd it was his objective to phase out Social Security. Lee said he will “pull it up by the roots and get rid of it.”

“People who advise me politically always tell me that’s dangerous and I tell them ‘in that case, it’s not worth my running,'” Lee said in the 2010 video. “That’s why I’m doing this, to get rid of that. Medicare and Medicaid are the same sort and need to be pulled up.”

In his response today, Lee says his comments were taken out of context and that critical details were left out when he was voicing his position in 2010.

In a statement posted by Lee on Twitter, the senator said the point he was trying to make was that the federal government should not be trusted with “sweeping power over people’s livelihoods,” claiming Congress has long used Social Security as a “slush fund.” Lee also said his point was that Congress had a responsibility to honor the commitments made to Americans who paid into Social Security.

“In repeatedly quoting my 2010 remarks today, President Biden conveniently left out that critical detail – that even when I voiced that position, I insisted that we honor the reliance interests of those who have paid into the system,” said Lee. “He also ignored in my 12 years in the Senate, I have never proposed abolishing Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Instead, I have offered solutions to improve those programs and move them toward solvency.”

In his reaction immediately following the State of the Union address, Lee said Biden mischaracterized Republicans. During a conversation with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Lee said Biden looked Republicans in the eye and mischaracterized what they believe and what they want.

Lee said Biden falsely indicated Republicans in Congress are taking an approach to cut the benefits he said. According to Lee, no Republican in either the House or Congress has suggested changing Social Security as a condition for raising the debt ceiling.

The Utah senator accused President Biden of using the 2010 quotes as a diversion from the national debt, which he says jeopardizes the government’s ability to fund programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.