OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump has taken a verbal potshot at former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who ran unsuccessfully as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, while he explained in an interview how Republicans could avoid falling into Democratic legislative and political “traps.”
Trump told Breitbart News earlier this month that one of those traps Republicans always seem to have to defend is the false Democratic claim that the GOP wants to cut Social Security, a left-wing talking point that made it back into the conversation again during the November midterms in some races.
“We’re not cutting Social Security,” Trump said. “It’s very simple. It’s a simple answer. We’re not cutting Social Security.”
“We have to protect it. It’s a contract with the people,” Trump said of Social Security. “They go in. They work and they do. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into Social Security, and then you have a guy like a Paul Ryan or others that want to destroy it,” he continued.
“We have a contract. There are plenty of places we can take from where it’s waste. Look at the Green New Deal nonsense. That’s many times Social Security, what they’re doing with the Green New Deal. That is like throwing money out the window. I’m all for the environment. I’m an environmentalist in the truest sense. But the Green New Deal is like the Green New Hoax. It’s a hoax,” he added. “Then when they talk about Social Security, they’re going to destroy Social Security so they can build more windmills all over the place that don’t work? It’s not going to happen with me.”
Trump was responding to a plan that Ryan, who has long advocated for cutting the program, co-authored and released a plan following the party’s dismal midterm performance titled, “American Renewal: A Conservative Plan to Strengthen the Social Contract and Save the Country’s Finances.” The plan consists of essays from multiple authors argue for “rethinking” Social Security, Ryan included.
“Paul’s a loser,” Trump told Breitbart regarding the plan. “Paul has always been a loser.”
Trump went on to speculate that Ryan helped Romney win what he believes was a winnable election against then-incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012, in part because of Ryan’s push to cut entitlement programs.
“He lost running for vice president and he lost it for Romney,” Trump said. “When Romney picked him, I said ‘that’s the end of that election.’ Remember the wheelchair? He’s got the wheelchair over the cliff. That was Paul Ryan. No, he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it.”
In actuality, that political campaign commercial dealt with Ryan’s bid to privatize Medicare in an effort to cut wasteful spending on the program.
“They fell into the Democrat trap,” Trump told Breitbart News regarding the manner in which the GOP looked at “entitlement reform.”
“I heard that. A couple guys were talking about it, and I said ‘that’s the end of his career.’ But it isn’t a question of the career. It’s a contract with the people. They’ve paid. They’ve worked. They’re entitled to it. There are so many things we can cut that is far more money than we’re talking about. There are so many things. You don’t have to cut Social Security. I would never do it,” he said.
Trump also advised that Republican candidates did not do a good job of handling the abortion issue after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, sending the issue back to the states for them to decide. He said the party should only support the procedure with “the three exceptions” — for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
“I think if you don’t have the three exceptions, it’s almost impossible in most parts of the country to win. If you don’t have three exceptions—I said to a very nice man running for governor of Pennsylvania, ‘If you don’t have the three exceptions, you can’t win,’” he said