A new report suggests that President Donald Trump is dismissing the importance of paying down the national debt because he doesn’t believe he will be in office when the nation’s fiscal crisis becomes even more unsustainable.
The Daily Beast spoke to a number of White House officials who say Trump doesn’t seem bothered by the ballooning deficit which has recently soared to approximately $21 trillion.
According to The Daily Beast:
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.
The news outlet also spoke to a Trump official who said the president “doesn’t really care” about resolving the debt, and would rather stick to his campaign trail message of “jobs and growth, whatever that means.”
“I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former White House official said.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said it’s also the responsibility of Congress to cut back on spending.
“While the president has and will continue to do everything in his power to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending, the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, and it’s time for them to work with this president to reduce the debt,” he said.
The Washington Post reported last month that President Trump once suggested to his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, that the government should simply print more money to help eliminate federal debt.
“He’d just say, run the presses, run the presses,” one former senior administration official said, describing Trump’s Oval Office orders. “Sometimes it seemed like he was joking, and sometimes it didn’t.”
Two current aides told the Post that they had not heard the president make that comment in recent months.
The anecdote was a part of a larger report on the president’s attempt to curb the federal deficit, even as he attempts to institute some policies that will increase federal spending.
Government debt has increased by roughly $2 trillion since Trump became president and the federal government now owes $21.7 trillion. The budget deficit also increased 17 percent in the 2018 fiscal year.
The Post’s anecdote is nearly identical to an excerpt from veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s book— “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
The legendary Watergate reporter claims that Cohn told Trump that the Federal Reserve was likely to increase rates during his first term in office.