President Donald Trump reportedly does not really care about the ballooning national debt, according to sources he spoke to shortly after taking office.
The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that individuals close to Trump during his early days as president recall Trump brushing off warnings about the debt reaching “critical mass” in the early 2020s.
Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Marcay write:
“One current senior Trump administration official vented that Trump ‘doesn’t really care’ about actually attacking the debt ‘crisis,’ and prefers simply ‘jobs and growth, whatever that means.'”
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” sources recall Trump saying. As a candidate, Trump promised to eliminate the country’s debt in eight years.
Throughout his career as a real estate developer, Trump lauded himself as the “king of debt.” He went bankrupt six times and relied heavily on foreign financing — particularly from Russia — to fund his ventures.
So people aren’t particularly surprised by Trump’s lack of concern.
Just like how he ran his businesses.
— Brandon Gage (@Teadoffliberals) December 5, 2018
Trump's entire career, in a nutshell.
— T.O. Resident (@TO_Resident) December 5, 2018
Trump’s attitude, to some, is emblematic of the Republican Party, which historically has slashed taxes, exploded the federal deficit, and led the country into recessions.
A model of Republicanism.
— On The Case Man (@OnTheCaseMan) December 5, 2018
Graduate of the Paul Ryan School of Economics.
— 8802Ditman (@8802Ditman) December 5, 2018
I know this is infuriating, but isn't this how today's Republican party has approached governing for decades?
— Justin Kemerling (@justinkemerling) December 5, 2018
This is from after the financial crisis: pic.twitter.com/ek38cnJeUc
— Morgan Housel (@morganhousel) December 5, 2018
The "Conservative" movement in a nutshell.
— Chimo (@2ndHandTardis) December 5, 2018
“I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official told The Daily Beast.
“He understands the messaging of it,” the source said. “But he isn’t a doctrinaire conservative who deeply cares about the national debt, especially not on his watch… It’s not actually a top priority for him… He understands the political nature of the debt but it’s clearly not, frankly, something he sees as crucial to his legacy.”
They added: “It’s not like it’s going to haunt him.”
Trump’s former legislative affairs director Marc Short, on the other hand, said Trump does recognize “the threat that debt poses.” But federal spending, Short said, is the real problem.
“But there’s no doubt this administration and this Congress need to address spending because we have out-of-control entitlement programs,” Short said. “It’s fair to say that… the president would be skeptical of anyone who claims that they would know exactly when a [debt] crisis really comes home to roost.”
Other people close to Trump told The Daily Beast a similar story.