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- President Donald Trump reportedly dismissed a future debt crisis because he didn’t think he’d be in office for it.
- US debt sits at about $21 trillion, and the federal government is expected to issue $1.34 trillion in new debt this year – its most since 2010.
- Trump campaigned on reducing the federal debt, but sources told The Daily Beast it did not appear to be a priority for the president.
- Trump has reportedly developed a new interest in the issue recently, however, telling Cabinet officials to work on a way to reduce the deficit.
- But people close to him have reportedly said he does not see the issue of rising debt as crucial to his legacy as president.
President Donald Trump is said to not be worried about setting the US up for a massive debt crisis because he doesn’t think it’ll erupt until after he leaves office.
Sources close to the presidency told The Daily Beast that Trump had repeatedly shrugged off any concerns about the rising national debt because it was projected to come to a head only after he would finish a second term.
During a 2017 briefing with senior officials, Trump responded to a presentation of charts and graphics by saying, “Yeah, but I won’t be here,” according to a source The Daily Beast said witnessed the comment.
The Treasury Department estimated in October that the federal government would issue $1.34 trillion in new debt during 2018 – a 146% jump from 2017 and the highest amount of new debt issued since 2010.
The GOP’s new tax law is expected to add $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years and drive the US’s exploding deficit.
Reducing the national debt is typically a major platform for Republicans and was something Trump campaigned on. At a campaign rally in 2016, he blamed President Barack Obama for a doubling of the national debt.
The Daily Beast, however, cited sources closed to the president as saying Trump rarely raised the issue, including one former senior White House official who reportedly said, “I never once heard him talk about the debt.”
Still, Trump may have recently shifted his attention toward the ballooning deficit. As The Daily Beast noted, a Washington Post report from November indicated that Trump had demanded that Cabinet officials work on a way to reduce the federal deficit.
The Daily Beast quoted a former senior White House official as saying that Trump “understands the political nature of the debt but it’s clearly not, frankly, something he sees as crucial to his legacy.”
The same Washington Post article, however, echoed an anecdote from the journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” When Gary Cohn, then Trump’s top economic adviser, brought the issue to Trump’s attention, the president reportedly suggested the US could simply print more money to pay off the debt.
Marc Short, Trump’s former legislative affairs director, told The Daily Beast that Trump did “recognize the threat that debt poses” and said Trump’s concern about rising interest rates showed his concern for the matter.
Senior Republicans have acknowledged the mounting debt. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in October that one of his biggest disappointments as speaker was his inability to address the growing federal debt.
“On healthcare itself and debt and deficits, it’s the one that got away,” Ryan said at a Washington Post event.