President Donald J. Trump doesn’t care about the nation’s debt, according to that paragon of truth known as the Daily Beast. The article in question claims that Trump’s view on the concern about the rising debt crisis was, “I won’t be here” when the whole thing comes crashing down. For the record, as with most of these reports, the claims are entirely unsourced. Yet, they do gel with other statements that supposed White House insiders have made about the president’s view on the national debt.
In his recent book, Fear: Trump in the White House, Bob Woodward describes a scene early in Trump’s presidency in which his then-senior economic adviser, Gary Cohn, met with Trump in the Oval Office. During that meeting, Trump insisted that the Federal Reserve should print more money to offset America’s onerous debt problem. Cohn shot the president down, according to Woodward (for his part, Trump denies everything in the book).
Even if it were true, that shouldn’t matter. The president does not control the country’s purse strings: Congress does… and that should frighten you.
Fact is, the president has attempted to mitigate the debt crisis. He did campaign on the issue. Though, to be fair, he was not anywhere near as vocal on the matter as other Republicans have been (many of those Republicans previously campaigned on this issue in order to win their congressional seats and then never address the matter until the next election cycle, when they need votes and talking points).
In fact, Trump campaigned not as an austerity man but as a man who could better manage America’s massive welfare state (which accounts for the overwhelming majority of America’s debt) and he vowed to increase the already-massive defense budget. Those who expected Trump, who in another life was proud to be called the “King of Debt,” to be a man of austerity did not understand either what Trump was saying on the campaign trail or what the 62 million Americans who voted for him in 2016 wanted.