Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said President Donald Trump’s executive actions in response to the pandemic Saturday made it very clear he intends on going after Social Security and Medicare if he’s re-elected.
In a Sunday interview with MSNBC’s AM Joy, Clinton said Trump’s signing of several executive actions was merely a “stunt” designed to distract from Congress’ need to provide long-term financial aid to struggling Americans. She said she hopes Republicans can “find their patriotism and conscience” in trying to hash out a realistic stimulus relief package.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee highlighted several Republicans who labeled Trump’s actions unconstitutional, although she questioned if Trump was aware of how his mandates on unemployment benefits and payroll taxes would even work.
Clinton claimed that one thing made very clear during Trump’s Saturday remarks was the president signaled to voters his intent to dismantle Social Security and Medicare if he is re-elected on November 3.
“It’s a stunt, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s most likely — as even many Republican senators have said — unconstitutional,” Clinton told AM Joy host Zerlina Maxwell.
“He’s bypassing the Congress, trying to spend money he has no authority to direct. and it’s also meant to be a big diversion from the hard work Congress should be engaged in to provide the relief tens of millions of Americans need,” Clinton continued. “Sadly, we didn’t take the steps for long enough to try to bend the [coronavirus] curve except for a few places and we can’t act like it is back to normal — people are still unemployed, small businesses are shuttered and gasping for help.”
Clinton further warned: “There was something else, very significant, in what Trump did the other day: basically he signaled that he’s going after Social Security and Medicare. Basically, he was talking about ending the financial contributions we all make into Social Security and Medicare through the payroll tax.”
“He sent a signal to voters that if you were unfortunately unlucky enough to have him be president again, you can watch what he’s going to do to Social Security and Medicare. And it’s going to hurt not just elderly Americans but every American.”
Clinton concluded the Sunday MSNBC interview by declining to endorse or express favoritism for any of Joe Biden’s potential vice president picks. And she reiterated that Americans “have to do everything possible” to make sure Trump is defeated in November, labeling him a “wannabe authoritarian.”
Trump railed against Democrats for attempting to “steal this election” Saturday as he announced executive actions aimed at circumventing weeks of stalemate in the Congress. In his own pitch to voters, the president declared that “if I get elected in November,” he would consider extending payroll tax cuts “permanently” — which prompted several members of his own party to note he lacks such authority.
“President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,” said Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse. “The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop.”