President Donald Trump's budget director said his campaign promise to eliminate the national debt included some "hyperbole."
"It's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole," Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told CNBC when asked about Trump's promise to eliminate $20 trillion from the national debt by the end of his supposed second term. "I'm not going to be able to pay off $20 trillion worth of debt in four years. I'd be being dishonest with you if I said that I could.
He added: "The reason the president doesn't want to change some of the mandatory spending, is because the public's not ready for it yet. They're ready for economic growth."
‶We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt,″ Trump said as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, adding that it could be done over approximately eight years, reports The Washington Post.
In an interview with Fortune, Trump denied he said he could get rid of $19 trillion in debt over 10 years, but did say he could put a significant dent in the national debt.
‶First of all, with low interest rates, you can think in terms of refinancings, and get it down,″ he said. ‶I believe you can do certain things to pay off the debt more quickly. The most important thing is to make sure the economy stays strong. You can do it in smaller chunks. You can do it in larger chunks. And you can do it in refinancings.″
Trump went on to say that, as president, he would be able to pay off a ‶percentage″ of the debt, but wasn't specific about what percentage that would be.
‶It depends on how aggressive you want to be. I’d rather not be so aggressive. Don’t forget: We have to rebuild the infrastructure of our country,″ he said. ‶We have to rebuild our military, which is being decimated by bad decisions. We have to do a lot of things. We have to reduce our debt, and the best thing we have going now is that interest rates are so low that lots of good things can be done that aren’t being done, amazingly.″
Trump also said he likes low interest rates.
‶The problem with low interest rates is it’s unfair that people who’ve led the American way of life -- the true American way of life -- that have saved every penny, that have paid off their mortgages, that have done everything they were supposed to do, and they were going to retire with their beautiful nest egg, and they were going to get interest on their money, and now they’re getting one-eighth of 1 percent,″ he said. "I think that’s unfair to those people, who have led their lives in the way they were supposed to."