EXCLUSIVE: Nikki Haley Takes Aim At Ron DeSantis Over Social Security In New 2024 Ad


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign will launch a new digital advertisement Thursday, first shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation, hitting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his previous and current statements on social security reform.

The ad, titled “DeSantis Then Vs. Now,” takes aim at comments DeSantis made when he was a congressional candidate when he argued that social security needed reform for younger generations. A second clip is then played from a CNN town hall on Tuesday during which the Florida governor criticized Haley for wanting to increase the retirement age. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Nikki Haley Slams ‘Desperate DeSantis’ In First Attack Ad Of Her Presidential Campaign)

“Ron DeSantis is the world’s biggest hypocrite and phony,” Nachama Soloveichick, communications director for the Haley campaign, told the DCNF in a statement. “In 2012, he called for raising the retirement age because people are living longer and Social Security is running out of money. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 he voted to raise the retirement age in Congress. Now he’s criticizing Nikki Haley because he’s desperate to save his failing campaign. Voters can smell a phony 100 miles away.”

In a 2012 interview with the St. Augustine Record, DeSantis pledged not to change social security for those who are already on the program or who are close to the retirement age. However, the then-congressional candidate did say reform was necessary for younger Americans to adapt with higher life expectancies.

“But what I think we need to do for people in my generation, particularly, is start to restructure the program in a way that’s going to be financially sustainable,” said DeSantis. “Me getting social security at 65 or 67 if I’m going to live into my 80s is probably not sustainable. When social security was created, the age that you received the benefit was actually higher than the life expectancy was … the system was not originally designed for people to be on it for 30 years, so we just have to understand that, that it’s a mathematical problem, and to allow people like me who have a lot longer to go to make some changes for us.”

During the town hall with CNN’s Jake Tapper, DeSantis maintained that social security benefits should be protected. The governor then criticized Haley for wanting to increase the retirement age, and argued that life expectancy is dropping.

“So, what she has said, Nikki Haley, she has claimed that the retirement age is way, way, way too low,” said DeSantis. “So, you got a lot of people that have worked hard their whole life. Life expectancy is declining in this country. It’s tragic. But it’s true. So, to look at those demographic trends, and say that, you would jack it up, so that people are not going to be able to have benefits? I mean, I don’t know why she’s saying that. You got to look at the trends.”

After record dips from the COVID-19 pandemic, life expectancy began to increase in 2022, CNN reported on Nov. 29, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, the life expectancy estimates are still far from pre-pandemic levels.

“Nikki Haley is just trying to distract from her record of caving to her liberal donors, rolling out the red carpet for China, backing down on child mutilation, and allowing corporations to set immigration policy,” DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin told the DCNF. “Ron DeSantis is the only conservative in this race. He’s committed to ensuring those who’ve paid into and rely upon Social Security will have their promises fulfilled. He also recognizes the fact that we’ve borrowed and spent from Social Security dollars relentlessly, and inflation devastates those on fixed incomes. He has the strongest record of reducing spending, reforming programs, and posting budget surpluses–and he will replicate this success at the national level to ensure programs like Social Security remain solvent for those who have paid into it.”

Haley hasn’t called for rolling back benefits for those already enrolled in the program, and is instead proposing to raise the retirement age for young adults currently in their 20s, according to CNN. The former ambassador would restrict benefits for wealthier Americans.

Former President Donald Trump also took shots at DeSantis, before the governor officially launched his White House bid, over his voting record and stances on social security.

The Haley campaign is also criticizing DeSantis over voting for budget resolutions that would’ve increased the retirement age to 70 during his time in Congress, CNN reported in February.

The ad comes on the heels of a Haley endorsement from New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. Haley has surged to second place in the first-in-the-nation primary state, and has been gaining ground in Iowa as well.

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