Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan recently stressed the importance of tackling the $21 trillion national debt, naming Congress' failure to do so as one of his regrets. It seems this is yet another issue on which he and President Trump don't see eye-to-eye.
The Daily Beast reports that Trump has frequently "shrugged" off warnings from his advisers about the national debt, feeling it's a problem for a future president to deal with. During one meeting early in his presidency, Trump was reportedly shown various graphics illustrating how big of a problem the national debt is going to become in the future, to which he responded, "Yeah, but I won't be here."
One former senior adviser told The Daily Beast that debt simply isn't a "top priority" for Trump and that he's "never once heard him talk about" it. A current senior administration official expressed frustration that the president "doesn't really care" about the debt.
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Trump's former legislative affairs director, Marc Short, disputed this characterization, saying Trump recognizes the "threat the debt poses" and that he's simply "skeptical of anyone who claims that they would know exactly when a [debt] crisis really comes home to roost.” A Trump spokesperson also said the president wants to balance the budget but that Congress has to work with him to do so, while a former Trump economic adviser, Stephen Moore, said Trump simply believes the country can deal with the issue through economic growth. "He would say, 'We're gonna grow our way out of it,'" Moore said.
Some conservatives expressed frustration with this report. Republican strategist and pollster Frank Luntz tweeted a scene from a 2000 episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa Simpson becomes president and says her predecessor, President Trump, increased the debt. "The Simpsons called it," Luntz wrote.
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