The issues of the national debt and the budget deficit were frequently argued about throughout the Barack Obama presidency, mostly once the Republicans attained a House majority after the 2010 election. Many of the biggest partisan disagreements of the era, including the debt ceiling crisis of 2011 and the government shutdown in 2013, were based around that essential question.
The deficit and debt have come up in public discourse much less frequently under the Trump presidency, mostly due to unified Republican control in Washington, at least up until last month’s election. The Republican-backed tax reform package passed in late 2017 led to expanded deficits, and the president has rarely addressed the topic in speeches.
According to a report by the Daily Beast on Wednesday, December 5, Trump aides have been warning him about what they see as a need to address the national debt, which is currently estimated at around $21 trillion. However, Trump has allegedly reacted to these warnings by stating that he’ll be out of office by the time the debt becomes a big problem, at least according the Daily Beast‘s unnamed sources.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” Trump reportedly told aides early in his presidency, as they tried to warn him about the debt rising even further in the future. Trump also told the aides, according to reporters Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, that “the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.”
EXCLUSIVE: Trump said he "won't be here" when the debt crisis blows up, according to a source https://t.co/iB6ju1lJY4— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 5, 2018
The Beast story cites unnamed “sources close to the president” and “several people close to the president,” although former White House aide Marc Short is quoted as stating that the president is aware of “the threat that debt poses.”
The U.S. national debt is the amount of money currently owed by the federal government. This is not to be confused with the deficit, which is the amount of shortfall in the current federal budget. Arguments about how much debt the federal government should hold have taken place for nearly the entirely of American history, and the U.S. has always had some amount of debt, with the exception of a brief period in the 1830s.
The debt has skyrocketed in recent years, however, reaching $1 trillion for the first time in the 1980s, $3 trillion in 1990, and $10 trillion in 2008, compared with the current total of around $21 trillion.