(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump was not saying he would cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare during Fox News’ town hall on Thursday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told said Friday.
During an interview with Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Conway was asked about Trump’s comments during the town hall, during which he suggested he would cut entitlements but then followed those comments with a tweet on Friday saying he promised to protect Social Security and Medicare.
During the town hall, Trump said when the trade deals he negotiated kick in, the U.S. economy - which is “the best economy we’ve ever had” – will be even better.
When asked whether he cares about the national debt, Trump said, “I do, very much.”
When asked whether it will be the focus of his second term in office, Trump said, “Oh, absolutely, but when the trade deals kick in -- now, again, we were disturbed by what's going on with the virus, but that's going to be fine. And, everybody, it's going to be fine, but, you know, that was a disturbance.
“But I will say this: We -- when these trade deals kick in, and when all -- you know, the economy is the best economy we've ever had. It's nothing compared to what it's going to be when the trade deals kick in,” he said.
"But if you don’t cut something in entitlements, you'll never really deal with the debt,” Fox News host Martha McCallum said.
“Oh, we’ll be cutting, but we're also going to have growth like you've never had before. We've never had growth like we're experiencing. We will be experiencing when they kick in,” he said.
Trump tweeted Friday morning, “I will protect your Social Security and Medicare, just as I have for the past 3 years. Sleepy Joe Biden will destroy both in very short order, and he won’t even know he’s doing it!”
Fox News host Ed Henry pointed to Trump’s remarks at the town hall, saying that he said the opposite.
“He didn't say that. You are misquoting him respectfully. He, and when I talked to him after I said there are some articles and some Twitter traffic that says the following and he said no, I'm talking about cutting deficits,” Conway said.
Henry asked how the president can cut the deficit without cutting programs, and he played a clip of Trump’s remarks during the town hall.
“But that wasn’t what he’s talking about. He’s not talking about cutting entitlements, and he has said that several times. His press secretary put out a statement last night that that is not what the president he was referring to, and the president himself has weighed in on this as well,” Conway said.
“He also talked about growth, which was important. He was talking about the booming economy. He also talked about the deficit in terms of - I loved actually his illustration that gee we can have a foreign country running up the hill of the White House to take us over, but hey, I balanced the budget or hey, we really reduced the deficit,” she said.
“You know he inherited a big deficit. He made very clear last night that the previous president exploded the deficit beyond anything that the prior presidents combined had done and that this is a president that needed to rebuild the military, and that’s no joke. Under President Trump's leadership, we’ve three consecutive pay raises for active military and what he has done for the veterans is truly incredible,” Conway said.
“Secretary Wilkie of the VA tells me 2.5 million American veterans have accessed the VA Mission or Choice Act since it went into effect of early June of last year. That’s remarkable. They can access care in the private system if they can't access it in a timely quality way through the VA, which most say that they can, so he had to rebuild the military, make sure they have literally the equipment they need but also a pay raise so that they’re better resourced and more deeply respected,” she added.