The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: don bolduc

As Campaign Falters, GOP Senate Nominee Flip-Flops On Social Security

New Hampshire Senate Republican nominee Don Bolduc is trying soften his pitch to voters while still saying he would privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

On Friday, Bolduc — a far-right candidate and retired Army brigadier general — told New Hampshire Today that he is "not promoting privatization," but he does want to replace Social Security and Medicare with programs that are privately run.

"First of all, our seniors have nothing to worry about with me," Bolduc said on Friday. "I want Granite Staters to know that I will invest in a solid Medicare program that puts them in charge of their health care, not the government, and as far as Social Security goes, we are going to put that money back, we are going to give people the money that they put into it."

At an Aug. 2 town hall event in Pembroke, New Hampshire, Bolduc said he backed the end of the social safety net programs that provide health insurance for millions of older and low-income Americans.

"The privatization is hugely important," Bolduc said at the event, according to Politico. "Getting government out of it, getting government money with strings attached out of it."

This echoed previous comments Bolduc made during his unsuccessful 2020 Senate campaign.

At a May 2020 Hillsboro Republican Party meeting, Bolduc said "experts" at the Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank that for decades has pushed for privatizing Social Security — had been helping to inform his fiscal policies.

"I've been spending a lot of time on research, and I've been getting a lot of support from the experts at the Heritage Foundation, and I have developed some ideas, and — to go into a plan that will reduce our spending by $10.8 trillion over the next ten years," Bolduc said at the meeting.

He went on to suggest that the United States could reduce the federal deficit by cutting $2 trillion from Social Security, $1.2 trillion from Medicare, and $4 trillion from Medicaid.

At a Republican primary debate in August, Bolduc said he opposes letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices because "anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period."

At another GOP debate in September, he again urged the replacement of Social Security with "a different system" for future generations.

But now, as a recent Emerson College-WHDH poll shows him trailing Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the November general election race, Bolduc's campaign is claiming he has changed his position on privatization.

"Having served 10 tours of combat in Afghanistan, General Bolduc relies on his health care from the VA," spokesperson Jimmy Thompson told Politico. "He knows first-hand how important its services are to veterans, and he believes that every American who is eligible should be able to rely on the benefits they have paid into it, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security."

Thompson said Bolduc now "will oppose any effort to privatize these programs."

Bolduc's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for this story.

Hassan responded to the Politico story on Thursday by noting that 370,000 people in New Hampshire rely on Medicare for their health insurance. In a press release, she said:

Don Bolduc is so extreme that he would end Medicare as we know it and take away care from hundreds of thousands of Granite State seniors. While I have a record of fighting to lower costs for seniors, Don Bolduc has actually said that he would end Social Security and Medicare as we know it. New Hampshire seniors have spent their lives paying into Social Security and Medicare, and Don Bolduc would create immeasurable harm by taking away these critical programs.”

Since winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc has walked back his position on a federal abortion ban and has abandoned the conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election.

Other prominent Republicans have also been caught in recent months endorsing the end of the popular public entitlement programs.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has proposed a "Rescue America" plan which calls for a five-year sunset on every single federal program, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

This means that Congress would need to re-pass each of those programs every five years or they would cease to exist.

Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters said at a June 23 forum hosted by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks, "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

And on August 2, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a Wisconsin radio station that Social Security and Medicare should not be mandatory spending.

"What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending, so it's all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken, that are going to be going bankrupt," he said.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Flip Flop! Election Denier Bolduc Now Says Biden Is 'Legitimate President'

Two days after winning the New Hampshire Republican Senate nomination, Don Bolduc has already done a complete flip-flop on whether the 2020 presidential election was stolen: Just weeks after repeating the lie that former President Donald Trump was the real winner, he said Thursday that President Joe Biden is "the legitimate president of this country."

In an appearance on Fox News, the retired Army brigadier general was asked about his earlier insistence that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected, and was shown footage of his comments during a candidates debate on Aug. 14: "I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election and damn it, I stand by my letter."

Bolduc responded by claiming that he had recently become convinced that Trump lost.

"So, you know, we, you know, live and learn, right? And I've done a lot of research on this and I've spent the past couple of weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state, from, you know, every party. And I've come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this: The election was not stolen," he claimed.

Bolduc then baselessly asserted that there had been fraud in the election, then acknowledged, "But elections have consequences, and unfortunately, President Biden is the legitimate president of this country."

The far-right Bolduc narrowly won Tuesday's primary to face first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, despite concerns on the part of state and national Republicans that he would be too extreme to win a general election.

Bolduc had spent the past 16 months repeatedly pushing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and falsely claiming that Biden was not the real winner.

The letter Bolduc signed in May 2021 also said that the Biden administration had "launched a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, bypassing the Congress, with more than 50 Executive Orders quickly signed, many reversing the previous Administration's effective policies and regulations asserting that the election had been stolen."

Bolduc repeated the accusations in the days following the publication of the letter, tweeting the next day: "I stand by what is written in the letter. The truth in today's world can make people uncomfortable, but that should not stop anyone from speaking their truth."

"I signed that letter because I thought there was a tremendous amount of fraud," he told the New Yorker a month later. "My initial perspective was from New Hampshire, right? We've had a significant amount of fraud here. Our governor is in denial, in large part because he benefits from it, and so do all the federal Democratic incumbents. They all benefitted from it. Statistically, they won by margins that were mathematically impossible and defied common sense."

Despite Bolduc's claims before the primary and now, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election either in New Hampshire or nationally. Biden won the national popular vote by more than 7 million votes and won the Electoral College 306-232.

In a November 2021 interview published in the New Hampshire Business Review, then-Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who served in the office from 1976 to 2022 with bipartisan backing, said, "I don't have one example to give you where a person won an election in this state who should not have won it."

The same story noted that Bolduc was unable to point to any evidence-based specific examples of fraud in the state. Instead, he speculated, "It's clear to me with same-day voter registration, with college student registration, with the voting machines, that there was fraud."

A Bolduc campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation for this story.

Fox News host Bill Hemmer pressed Bolduc during the interview on Thursday, telling him, "This appears to be quite a change" and asking whether he had discussed the matter with former Vice President Mike Pence the previous day during a campaign event.

Bolduc said he hadn't, and added: "We all have time to make up for mistakes or for things that we've said that aren't accurate. And that's part of learning, that's part of listening. ... If we continue to reinforce failure, we're never going to move forward. If we can't accept in people fallibility and mistakes, we're never going to be able to move forward. ... That's what I stand for, and that's what Sen. Hassan does not stand for."

In a press release on Thursday, Hassan campaign spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said, "Don Bolduc has spent the entire campaign touting the Big Lie, and he can't hide from that record. He has even said that he supports overturning the results of the 2024 election if it doesn't go his way. A word salad on Fox will not erase his record of election denial."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire GOP Nominates Conspiracy Theorist Bolduc For Senate

Republicans in New Hampshire have nominated Don Bolduc, a far-right politician and former brigadier general of the Army, as their candidate for the state's U.S. Senate seat. Following his narrow victory in the primary on Tuesday, Bolduc will face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) this November.

Hassan, who was governor of New Hampshire prior to serving in the Senate, is seeking a second term. She has supported abortion rights, LGBTQ equality, and efforts to protect voting rights and democratic elections.

Bolduc, who has voiced support for anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion rights, and anti-democracy policies, previously ran unsuccessfully for his party's Senate nomination in 2020.

This time around, he overcame the opposition of the state's senate president, Chuck Morse, and nine other Republican candidates. Bolduc's candidacy was also challenged by ads funded via a super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and, although he didn't endorse any candidates, comments by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) that criticized him. Sununu deemed Bolduc "not a serious candidate" and "a conspiracy theorist."

While he has not committed to supporting a federal ban on abortion, Bolduc has repeatedly stated he is against abortion rights. In December 2021, Bolduc privately described himself to the Dover Republican Committee as "unapologetically pro-life," and "I'm not gonna vote contrary to" anti-abortion causes.

In June, Bolduc praised the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision which struck down the judicial precedent for abortion rights set by the court in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years prior. "As a pro-life candidate, I believe the Supreme Court made the right decision," he said in a statement.

Recent polls found that both the Dobbs decision and restriction of abortion rights are unpopular with amongst a majority of New Hampshire voters.

Bolduc has also been sharply critical of federal safety net programs. As a candidate in 2020, he proposed making $2 trillion in cuts and a gradual end to the Social Security program. During his current campaign, at a Sept. 7 primary debate, he again called for replacement of Social Security with "a different system" for future generations.

Bolduc also proposed a $1.2 trillion cut to Medicare. At another debate in August, he explained that he opposed allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices because "anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period." He the falsely claimed "Medicare doesn't negotiate anything. They do it with third-party insurance companies."

Bolduc has proposed major cuts to federal government agencies as well. "The whole damn government needs to be audited and needs to be reduced big time," he stated at the August debate, specifically naming the "Energy [Department], the EPA, Homeland Security, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, and the Department of Education." At the debate on Sep. 7, he added the Departments of Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Defense to his list of agencies he wants to significantly cut.

In addition to supporting conspiracy theories that former President Donald Trump really won the 2020 election, which he called "stolen," Bolduc has vowed to "absolutely" overturn a possible President Joe Biden reelection win in 2024. He also supported a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which guarantees the right of voters to choose their own U.S. senators.

Bolduc previously earned the backing of six lawmakers in New Hampshire who advanced legislation calling for the state to secede from the union and become a "sovereign nation." He also received endorsements from three other state representatives who co-authored a December 2020 letter demanding for "termination of the state" of New Hampshire's government based on "fraud" in the 2020 election.

Bolduc also has a long record of sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks. In November 2019, he told a joke at a local GOP meeting about locking his wife and dog in the trunk of his car. "You close the trunk. Walk away, have a cup of coffee, come back in an hour, open up the trunk," he joked, "and who's going to be happy to see you? Not the wife!"

In March 2020, he used racist language to describe the COVID-19 virus, incorrectly calling it the "China Coronavirus." He defended himself as "not a racist person at all" because he "served 33 years in the military, an institution that was the first to desegregate of any in our society in 1948."

He incorrectly claimed in January 2020 that the Civil War — fought largely over the issue of slavery — was the result of insufficient compromise. "The Civil War was started because the parties, because they couldn't come together," he said. "There were reasons for fighting it. But they couldn't get together to figure it out so we just had a war. Gridlock, blaming, pointing the finger. Not working together, not being a partnered team."

Bolduc also used a homophobic language in an August 2020 campaign ad, telling voters, “I didn’t spend my life defending this country to let a bunch of liberal, socialist pansies squander it away." He previously told voters that he did not believe federal civil rights laws protected LGBTQ people and called himself "a believer in traditional marriage."

“Don Bolduc is the most extreme Senate nominee in modern New Hampshire history. Bolduc is an election denier who would ban abortion nationwide, end Social Security, decimate Medicare, and undermine our democracy," Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a statement, Hassan wrote:

I have worked across the aisle to get results for New Hampshire and taken on corporate special interests to lower costs. This campaign will be a clear contrast between my record of delivering for the people of New Hampshire and Don Bolduc’s radical, backward-looking agenda. If Don Bolduc had his way in the U.S. Senate, he would work to end Social Security, decimate Medicare, and vote to ban abortion nationwide. Don Bolduc is simply too extreme for New Hampshire, and his agenda is wildly out of touch with Granite Staters.

Now that Bolduc has become the Republican nominee, the Cook Political Report determined that the New Hampshire Senate contest will "lean" in favor of the Democratic nominee.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire GOP Candidates Attack Medicare As 'A Failure'

'It's not a legitimate role of government to be involved in health care in any way,' said New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Bruce Fenton.

Two New Hampshire Republicans seeking their party's nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in the November general election said Wednesday that Medicare is a failure. Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc and investment banker Bruce Fenton argued that the popular program should not be able to negotiate lower prescription drug prices because government is the problem.

Appearing at a primary debate hosted by the right-wing media outlet Newsmax alongside New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse and former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith, Bolduc and Fenton were asked whether a provision in the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act that allows the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies "ultimately helps Americans."

"Listen, anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period," the current frontrunner Bolduc replied to applause and cheers. He continued by making false claims about how the system works: "The worse thing about this whole thing is that Medicare doesn't negotiate anything. They do it with third-party insurance companies. So anyone that knows anything about Medicare and what it does, it doesn't do that, right?"

Bolduc then misled viewers about orders issued by former President Donald Trump in 2020 that Trump claimed lowered the price of insulin to $35 out of pocket, but in fact applied to very narrow segments of the population. This included an order issued in December 2020 that according to the Department of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden would have imposed "excessive administrative costs and burdens" on health centers directed to provide the drug. Bolduc said: "President Trump put in a great executive order that lowered insulin to $35. What did Biden do? He reversed it, and Maggie Hassan supported that. It's terrible! Now it's up over several hundred dollars. That hurts people."

He continued:

Medicare was started in 1965. They've stolen from it ever since. That's what career politicians do. That's what the government does, it steals from people, it taxes them and then doesn't even give them a return on their investment. Medicare, we need to take care of our aging population. Definitely. It needs to be reformed and if we don't reform it, and we don't make it patient-focused, and we don't allow people to be in control of their own health care, medical freedom, then we're just violating our own constitutional rights.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program mostly used by Americans age 65 and older and funded through payroll taxes, provided coverage to more than 60 million people in 2020 — 300,000 of them in New Hampshire.

According to a May 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report, 94% of Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age or older said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the quality of care they receive.

Asked for his view, Fenton said the government should not be involved in the health care system at all.

Medicare is one of the, it's one of the many things that sounds good, but it isn't. Government corrupts everything that it touches, and there's a huge, huge price of all government programs, and we often forget that because things sound good, they sound like they're going to help people, or we get mistaken that it's compassion or something like that. But really, at the end of the day, these projects are generally corrupt, they reward cronies, and most importantly they're both expensive in terms of the human cost and the regulatory cost and the financial cost, in some cases causing financial ruin for some citizens. But they're also not effective. ... Government is ineffective, and it's not a legitimate role of government to be involved in health care in any way. We shouldn't have them involved in any of this, at all. We should entirely get government out of it and put the hands in the power of the people. That's where it belongs.

According to a column written by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Bernie Sanders and published by Data for Progress in 2021, polling conducted by the organization and Social Security Works found "a full 83 percent of voters support expanding Medicare to cover hearing, vision, and dental care, including 86 percent of those over the age of 45. That popularity crosses party lines: 89 percent of Democrats, 82 of Independents, and 76 percent of Republicans are in favor." A poll conducted on behalf of the organization Patients for Affordable Drugs Now in April 2022 found overwhelming support for congressional efforts to lower what they consider excessively high drug prices.

The Democratic majorities in Congress voted unanimously on Aug. 7 in the House and Aug. 12 in the Senate to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, with provisions to allow negotiation and to cap out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs and insulin for Medicare recipients. Every single Republican in both chambers opposed the package, which also invested hundreds of billions of dollars in energy and climate change infrastructure and funded affordable health care coverage for three more years.

New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Morse was not asked about the issue at the debate on Wednesday, but told Manchester station WGIR's Chris Ryan on Aug. 18 that he would not have supported the legislation or the drug negotiation provisions because "when the government gets involved, we eliminate choices and that hurts the people in the state of New Hampshire. So, no, I'm against the government getting involved in anything to do with our lives."

In an email following the debate, the New Hampshire Democratic Party responded: "Tonight, Don Bolduc doubled down on his opposition to allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, proving once more that he would stand with Big Pharma over Granite Staters. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is a commonsense solution that will help bring down prescription drug prices across the board and put money back into Granite Staters' pockets."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Hampshire 'Secession' Extremists Endorse GOP Senate Candidate

Several state legislators who backed efforts to secede from the United States or dissolve the state government have endorsed Don Bolduc, a Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

Bolduc is one of several GOP candidates seeking the party's nomination for Senate in the Sept. 13 primary. The winner will face Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in November.

On July 26, Bolduc — a retired Army brigadier general and failed 2020 Senate candidate — released a list of 41 Republican state representatives endorsing his candidacy. This amounts to about one-fifth of the 206 current members of the New Hampshire House Republican Caucus.


In a press release, he praised the lawmakers as "true patriots" committed to the nation:

As I've campaigned and held over 25 town halls throughout the state, I've been lucky enough to be joined by some of the Granite State's great local representatives along the way. I'm honored to earn the support and trust of these true patriots who believe, like I do, our greatest days are ahead, and together we can build back American Strength.

Six of Bolduc's endorsers — Reps. Max Abramson, Dustin Dodge, Dennis Green, Raymond Howard, Diane Kelley, and Paul Terry — backed a proposed state constitutional amendment to provide "that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation."

Those six were among just 13 "no" votes as 323 of their colleagues successfully moved to kill the amendment by deeming it "inexpedient to legislate."

Dodge, Green, and Howard also signed on as co-sponsors of the secession legislation.

In December 2020, Howard and three others on Bolduc's endorsement list — Reps. José Cambrils, Dave Testerman, and Scott Wallace — reportedly co-authored a letter calling for "termination of the state" of New Hampshire's government based on "fraud" in the 2020 election and declaring it "is, and Right ought to be a Free and Independent State as defined by Part I, Bill of Rights, Article VII."

Their "Declaration of Independence" was signed by six state representatives in total and 31 other activists.

A Bolduc spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

His endorsers' pro-secession position is outside the mainstream. A June SurveyUSA poll found that 29 percent of New Hampshire adults would prefer the state "govern itself as an independent country," while 58 percent would not.

Some of the other state legislators backing Bolduc have come under bipartisan criticism in the past for sharing bigoted messages online.

Rep. Dawn Johnson faced criticism and calls to step down in December 2020 after she shared an anti-Semitic story and cartoon from the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website accusing Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of conspiring with Jews to rig the election. She later apologized but refused to resign.

In October 2021, Rep. Ken Weyler stepped down from his committee assignments, but not his state House seat, after sending colleagues a 52-page anti-vaccine manifesto that included anti-Catholic conspiracy theories. Among these were a baseless claim of a secret Pope and an accusation that church leaders are Satanists.

In September 2018, an image shared on Rep. Harry Bean's Facebook page reportedly showed Hillary Clinton and her campaign vice chair Huma Abedin with nooses, suggesting that the two should be hanged. Bean claimed to be unaware of the image a year later and told a local news outlet that his account had been hacked.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Senate Candidate Promises To ‘Overturn' A Biden Win In 2024

A Republican running for Senate in New Hampshire said he would "absolutely" be willing to block certifying future election results against the will of American voters.

Don Bolduc is running against incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the 2022 midterm elections.

Bolduc believes in and has promoted the lie that the 2020 election was "stolen" from former President Donald Trump.

Read Now Show less