FACT CHECK: Donald Trump Claims Nikki Haley Plans To Cut Social Security For 82 Percent Of Americans
In a recent campaign ad, former President Donald Trump claimed former Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley plans to cut Social Security benefits for 82 percent of Americans if elected as president.
🚨 New Ad from Team Trump — “Threat From Within” pic.twitter.com/BF4TnZ326C
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) January 11, 2024
The claim is inaccurate. There is no evidence Haley ever mentioned cutting Social Security benefits for 82 percent of Americans.
Haley stated during the fifth GOP presidential debate that she plans to change the age at which younger Americans would qualify for Social Security benefits in order to reflect what “life expectancy should be,” according to Newsweek. Her debate opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, did not agree with raising the age, as he said life expectancy is decreasing, the outlet reported.
A recent Trump campaign ad claims Haley has made a plan to cut Social Security benefits for 82 percent of Americans. The ad opens with images of elderly people and somber piano music before cutting to news coverage of Haley.
“Haley’s plan cuts Social Security benefits for 82 percent of Americans,” the ad says, claiming this information came from CNN on March 12, 2023. “Trump will never let that happen.”
The claim is inaccurate, however. Haley has suggested that she could make potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare if elected, but only for the younger generation or “those in their 20s coming into the system,” according to a CNN article from March 12, 2023, aligning with the date referenced by the ad. The article, however, does not reference the alleged 82 percent statistic. A CNN sitemap for March 2023 shows no headlines for March 12 that could match the claim.
“We can’t fact check Donald Trump’s lies because they’re…lies. As you likely noticed, the CNN article cited doesn’t mention 82 percent anywhere,” a Haley spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email. “What is true, however, is that Donald Trump’s do-nothing plan will require a 23 percent cut across the board when Social Security starts to run out of money in 2033.”
Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst and modeling manager at the Tax Foundation, told Check Your Fact in an email that the “82% is likely referring to the total number of Americans eligible [f]or Social Security presently or in the future…”
“My understanding is that the 82% figure is likely referring to the total number of Americans eligible [f]or Social Security presently or in the future, not the number of Americans who would see a benefit cut under Haley’s proposals. Haley appears to be suggesting changing the eligibility age for younger workers, saying that we won’t change rules for those currently receiving benefits,” Watson said.
Watson also pointed Check Your Fact to a August 2023 YouTube video showing Haley discussing her plan to “change retirement age to reflect life expectancy.”
“One estimate is that about 26 percent of Americans may be impacted in 40 years if the retirement age was increased for those under age 25 as of today,” Watson added.
The ad also splices the interview. Haley did not respond to managing entitlements with “we say ‘the rules have changed,'” she suggested saying this to younger generations entering the system.
There are no credible news reports about Haley proposing to cut Social Security benefits for 82 percent of Americans. (RELATED: Has Nikki Haley Been Disqualified For The Presidency?)
Check Your Fact has reached out to spokespeople for Trump and CNN and will update this piece accordingly if a comment is received from either source.