In the May 7, 2015, tweet, which came before Trump announced his presidential campaign, the real estate mogul bragged that he was the first potential GOP candidate to pledge no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had “copied” him.
Sanders’ prop quickly became something of a meme, with Twitter users replacing Trump’s tweet with their own messages and others mocking the tactic.
Mike Casca, Sanders’ deputy communications director, said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz “chuckled” when he saw the Vermont senator’s aide carrying the poster into the chamber. Both Huckabee and Cruz competed against Trump in the GOP primary.
Earlier Wednesday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said that the first priority of the Trump administration would be to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and that the process will begin with a series of executive orders by Trump on their first day in the White House.
“Obamacare has failed,” Pence said after a meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday. “Now is the time to keep our promises. Step one will be to repeal Obamacare.”
President Obama met with Sanders and other key Democrats to formulate a strategy to block the GOP assault on his signature health care plan.
After the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Democrats “have a great deal of optimism” that parts of the Affordable Care Act will, in fact, stay, and that Republicans “don’t quite know what to do” with their newfound power.
“They’re like the dog that caught the bus,” Schumer said. “They can repeal, but they have nothing to put in its place.”
Schumer also unveiled a tagline that uses Trump’s campaign slogan to attack the GOP plan.
“The Republican plan to cut health care wouldn’t make America great again,” Schumer said. “It would make America sick again and lead to chaos.”
Sanders also addressed reporters, and used Trump’s 2015 tweet as a reference point.
“Trump didn’t just say this in passing,” Sanders said. “He didn’t say it in the middle of the night. He didn’t say it in an interview. This was a cornerstone of his campaign. He said it over and over and over again.”
Trump, Sanders added, “has got to come forward — maybe through a tweet, one of his tweets — and say clearly that [he] will veto any legislation that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid or that cuts Social Security.”