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Trump admits he will seek to cut Social Security while ‘hobnobbing with billionaires’ in Davos

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“It’ll be toward the end of the year,” Trump said from Davos, Switzerland. “And at the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things, if you look, cause it’s such a big percentage.”

While attending the World Economic Forum’s summit of global elites in the Swiss mountaintop retreat of Davos on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly admitted he would—if reelected in 2020—consider cutting back funding for key social programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

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“After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year. The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated.”
—Richard Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans

The remarks came in an interview with CNBC‘s Joe Kernen in Davos, and although the news outlet did not report them in their initial write-up of the exchange, they were captured in the transcript:

KERNEN: Do I dare— one last question.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Go ahead.

KERNEN: Entitlements ever be on your plate?

TRUMP: At some point they will be. We have tremendous growth. We’re going to have tremendous growth. This next year I—it’ll be toward the end of the year. The growth is going to be incredible. And at the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things, if you look, cause it’s such a—

KERNEN: If you’re willing—

TRUMP: —big percentage.

KERNEN: —to do some of the things that you said you wouldn’t do in the past, though, in terms of Medicare—

TRUMP: Well, we’re going—we’re going to look….

For those who needed a translation, MarketWatch columnist Pedro Nicolaci da Costa spelled it out plainly: “Trump told CNBC he wants to cut Social Security.”

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Reaction from defenders of the key safety net programs was swift.

“After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in a statement. “The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated.”

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“While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do,” added Fiesta. “Social Security and Medicare are vital for a secure retirement. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. This burden and affording other basic necessities make it harder for retirees to make ends meet. Cutting Social Security and Medicare would be a cruel disaster.”

In the context of the 2020 election, Linda Benesch, communications director for the advocacy group Social Security Works, said Donald Trump ran on a promise to protect Social Security in 2016, “but that was a lie.” Since taking office, especially with the help of top aide Mick Mulvaney, the Trump administration has repeatedly signaled its desire to cut funding for the key programs.

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“His budget proposals include Social Security cuts,” Benesch explained to Common Dreams in an email. “Now, he’s flat out saying that he plans to target ‘entitlements’ (AKA earned benefits.) We need a Democratic nominee who can draw a clear contrast with Trump on Social Security. That will be far more difficult for Joe Biden, who has a history of being open to cuts, than it would be for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.”

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Struggling seniors and retirees, said Fiesta, “need help, not a slap in the face.”


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Stephen Colbert hilariously mocks Oklahoma governor ‘Stitt for brains’ for catching COVID-19 after ignoring masks

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) revealed Wednesday that he is positive for the coronavirus. It could have been the exposure he incurred at the Trump rally. Or it could have been all of those times he went out without a mask saying he was "social distancing." Either way, it was something "A Late Show" host Stephen Colbert found to be a hilarious example of schadenfreude.

"All the people in charge who told us the pandemic wasn't a big deal are looking big dumb right now like Oklahoma governor and chunky Dracula Kevin Stitt, cuz remember Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma full of unmasked open mouth screamers," said Colbert. "Lots of people called it a terrible idea, said it should be canceled. Not Governor Stitt."

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The problem isn’t the campaign manager — it’s Trump: Republican analyst

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Switching up the campaign manager four months before the election when the latest poll shows you 12 points down has nothing to do with the campaign's leadership, Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter explained on CNN Wednesday.

"The problem isn't that Donald Trump has a bad campaigner," said Carpenter in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "They're raising tons of money. They have a boatload of surrogates. The problem is that he has a bad presidency. And no one -- no one, no spin master, not Kellyanne Conway, not Brad Parscale can spin the most important number of this election, and that's -- at present, 137,000 dead and rising. And so what we need to see if Donald Trump wants to turn this around is to turn around his white house. And I have four words of advice: More Fauci, less Kayleigh."

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Here’s what you need to know about Bill Stepien — the man who just took over Trump’s fledgling campaign

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President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.

In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.

If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren't reopened until Friday.

The court case quoted Bill Stepien's name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian." The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn't Serbian, it's actually Croatian.

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