- Trump tore into critics of rising government spending and mounting debt under his watch, The Washington Post reported.
- “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country,” Trump reportedly said at a Friday fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
- The comments offer a remarkable window into Trump’s approach to federal spending as the debt and deficits have increased every year he’s been in office.
- Republican calls to rein in federal spending and curb the deficits have largely died down.
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President Trump ripped into critics of rising federal spending under his watch, according to leaked audio files of a lavish fundraiser held at Mar-a-Lago on Friday.
“Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post, which published the remarks over the weekend.
The Post reported that he bragged about increasing the defence budget by at least $US2.5 trillion, a sum that could be attained after adding several years’ of government defence spending. The Pentagon’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year totals $US738 billion.
He also spoke about the dramatic events surrounding the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani earlier this month and ridiculed environmental concerns, the report said.
The freewheeling comments offer remarkable insights into the president’s approach on federal spending and the debt, which barreled past $US23 trillion late last year.
Trump campaigned in 2016 on eliminating the federal debt in eight years and reining in the deficit, a key concern of Republicans throughout President Obama’s two terms in office. They often accused Democrats of being excessive spenders, which racked up the deficit.
However, Trump veered the opposite direction as president, and Republicans tempered their previous criticism.
The 2017 tax cuts blew up the federal deficit, which neared $US1 trillion in fiscal year 2019 – a 26% jump from the year before as it steadily increased every year in office.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cost $US1.9 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Trump also signed a $US1.4 trillion budget in December that boosted defence spending.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan budget watchdog, estimated earlier this month that Trump’s spending priorities will pile an additional $US4.7 trillion onto the debt through 2029.
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