Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis distanced himself from his previous support for privatizing Social Security and raising the retirement age in response to prospective future political opponents seizing his prior approval.
As a congressman, DeSantis supported nonbinding budget resolutions that would have raised the eligibility age for seniors to receive federal benefits from 65 to 70.
DeSantis' attempt to openly reverse a stance fundamental to the fiscal conservatism that characterized his early political career comes at a time when former president Donald Trump turned to support Medicare and Social Security.
He also called DeSantis “a wheelchair-over-the-cliff kind of guy.”
Trump seems to be getting into DeSantis' head
Trump has singled out DeSantis, who is touring the nation to publicize his new book and boost his reputation before announcing an anticipated presidential bid.
Trump's criticism brought back an attack line Democrats employed more than ten years ago to undermine Paul Ryan.
Ryan was a Wisconsin Republican who suggested partial privatization of Social Security and Medicare in his budget proposals and was selected as Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012. An actor who appeared to portray Ryan shoved an older woman over the edge of a cliff in an advertisement that ran in many swing states.
DeSantis has mostly stayed away from interacting with Trump and hasn't previously responded when asked about his earlier stances.
DeSantis was questioned regarding a suggestion to raise the eligibility age for federal benefits to 70. He then appeared to discount worries about the long-term financial outlook of federal entitlement programs before switching to criticizing Biden's prior Social Security votes.
“We’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans,” DeSantis said “I think that that’s pretty clear.”
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