One of the dangers of electing someone who doesn't know anything about anything is the possibility that those who do know something will take advantage of them.
According to a long-form profile of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney published by Politico, the budget proposal released by the White House earlier this year included Social Security cuts because Mulvaney tricked Trump into approving it.
“Look, this is my idea on how to reform Social Security,” the former South Carolina congressman began.
“No!” the president replied. “I told people we wouldn’t do that. What’s next?”
“Well, here are some Medicare reforms,” Mulvaney said.
“No!” Trump repeated. “I’m not doing that.”
“OK, disability insurance.”
This was a clever twist. Mulvaney was talking about the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which, as its full name indicates, is part of Social Security. But Americans don’t tend to think of it as Social Security, and its 11 million beneficiaries are not the senior citizens who tend to support Trump.
“Tell me about that,” Trump replied.
“It’s welfare,” Mulvaney said.
“OK, we can fix welfare,” Trump declared.
It seems impossible to know how much distance there is between the things Trump says and what he really believes, or if he even really believes anything, but it is certainly plausible that his advisers have taken advantage of him far more than once.
But Trump's stupidity doesn't make him innocent. In fact, this exchange as reported by Politico makes both Mulvaney and Trump look like slimeballs.
Mulvaney knew exactly what he was doing and, for his part, Trump understood that "welfare" is bad because "welfare" has been thoroughly racialized and stigmatized for an entire generation. This being a program for the physically or mentally disabled takes a back seat to the mental image of "welfare queens" living a life of subsidized luxury. A fantasy.
Trump may not know the first thing about Social Security or any other federal program, but we do know he's an incredibly racist person. He still hasn't apologized to the Central Park Five and he never will, but he did just pardon birther posse sheriff Joe Arpaio. Emphasis on "birther" because Trump is their spiritual leader.