President Donald Trump vowed throughout the 2016 presidential campaign that he would not cut Social Security or Medicare.
Despite this, however, the president’s proposed budget featured a massive $70 billion cut in Social Security disability benefits over the span of a decade.
A Politico profile of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reveals exactly how this happened — essentially, Mulvaney tricked Trump into agreeing to disabilities benefits cuts by calling it a “welfare” program.
Earlier this year, Mulvaney tried to get Trump to agree to cuts in Social Security and Medicare, but the president wouldn’t budge. Then he brought up disabilities benefits, which piqued Trump’s interest.
“Tell me about that,” Trump said.
“It’s welfare,” Mulvaney said.
“OK, we can fix welfare,” Trump declared.
Politico notes that Mulvaney is proudly telling this story about how he manipulated Trump into cutting benefits for 11 million disabled Americans on the record — and it’s an indication of the clout he has that he doesn’t fear telling anecdotes that show his boss to be woefully misinformed.
“In a White House where the president and most of his inner circle are new to government, Mulvaney is one of Trump’s few top domestic policy aides with any prior experience in how Washington works, and the disability story is just one example of how he uses that advantage to target Big Government generosity,” Politico writes. “At OMB, he gets to weigh in on almost everything the government does, and he’s driving the administration’s ambitious efforts to slash spending, kill regulations and reorganize the federal bureaucracy.”