As seniors’ advocates, it is not our job to parse Joe Biden’s debate performance. It’s our job to tell Americans in straight talk who is telling the truth about Social Security and Medicare — and who will protect them as president. In last night’s debate, Donald Trump repeatedly spread disinformation about seniors’ earned benefits, while President Biden’s statements were consistent with the truth — and with his record in office of defending both programs.

No one who is serious about protecting Social Security and Medicare would undermine them the way Trump did last night. Early in the debate, Trump baselessly claimed that undocumented workers are collecting Social Security benefits — a myth that has no basis in reality.

“They’re going to destroy Social Security. These millions and millions of people coming in, they’re trying to put them on Social Security.” – Donald Trump, 6/27/24

Here’s the truth: Undocumented workers are not eligible for Social Security benefits, period. Either Trump doesn’t understand how America’s greatest social insurance programs work — or he is purposely lying.

Trump turned reality inside out on the issue of Medicare, as well, accusing the Biden administration of “destroying” the program, again falsely claiming that the President is giving undocumented workers benefits (for which, again, they are ineligible).

“He will wipe out Medicare…” – Donald Trump, 6/27/24

In the real world, President Biden strengthened the Medicare program through the Inflation Reduction Act. He literally empowered Medicare to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma for the first time in history, which is projected to save beneficiaries $7.4 billion per year in prescription costs — in addition to capping insulin costs at $35 per month and limiting seniors’ out of pocket drug costs to $2,000 annually.

Trump tried to take credit for lowering prescription drug prices but never presented a comprehensive program while he was in office, and unlike President Biden, never enacted one.

“I’m the one that got the insulin down for the seniors. I took care of the seniors. What he is doing is destroying all of our medical programs because the migrants coming in.” – Donald Trump, 6/27/24

While President Trump has been all over the map on Social Security (saying earlier this year that was “open” to “cutting entitlements” and then walking it back), President Biden tonight affirmed his commitment to strengthening the program’s finances by demanding that high earners (anyone with more than $400,000 in yearly wages) begin paying their fair share.

Trump is the one who will “destroy” Social Security through is rhetoric and actions. He has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” and as President his budgets included billions of dollars in cuts to both Social Security and Medicare. During the pandemic, he needlessly suspended the Social Security payroll tax and said he’d like to end it altogether, even though the FICA tax is the program’s chief funding source. Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have called for raising the retirement age, means testing, and reduced COLAs — proposals they and Trump would no doubt enact if the GOP prevails in November.

President Biden has consistently championed Social Security and Medicare since taking office. In successive White House budget proposals, he has urged Congress to take action to strengthen both programs. He convinced Republicans to take Social Security and Medicare “off the table” in the 2023 debt ceiling negotiations. He called seniors’ earned benefits “a sacred trust” that must be protected and vowed that if anyone tries to cut either program, “I will stop them.”

While the pundits make gloomy pronouncements about President Biden’s debate performance and the potential consequences for his candidacy, it is not clear that the voting public is responding in kind. In an admittedly unscientific sampling, we are receiving comments on our social media feeds expressing support for Biden and disdain for Trump in the aftermath of the debate:

“I was not thrilled with Biden’s performance, but at least he answered the important questions. He did maintain his composure in spite of the ceaseless insults based on Trump’s misinformation and downright lies.” – Facebook User, Tammy

“Trump cannot be trusted on anything he says. I can tell he is lying because his mouth is open.” – Facebook User, Phil

Trump didn’t give an answer about Social Security because they didn’t pin him down. He’ll follow whatever he’s told by the (right wing) because he doesn’t understand anything about it.” – Facebook User, Bob

Regardless of how the debate turned out, Biden still has my vote.” – Facebook User, Debbie

NCPSSM President & CEO Max Richtman says the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare still stands squarely behind Joe Biden as the candidate who will protect American seniors’ financial and health security.

“We have been watching these two candidates for 8 years. There is no question as to which one seniors can trust with their crucial earned benefits — paid for over a lifetime of work,” says Richtman. “It’s not the candidate whose statements are erratic and false, and whose policies in office were spectacularly reckless. Seniors can trust the candidate who considers Social Security and Medicare to be ‘sacred’ and has promised to protect them from cuts. That is why, on behalf of our members and supporters across the country, we support Joe Biden for President.”