In 2013, then-businessman and television personality Donald Trump called the debt ceiling a “very powerful weapon” that he would use as a “negotiating tool” to reach a “big deal” that helps “straighten out” the nation’s budget.
At the time of Trump’s comments, the Democrats had the majority in the Senate, Republicans had the majority in the House and President Obama was in office.
Trump announced on Monday that his administration reached a deal with congressional leaders that extends the debt ceiling through July 2021. The agreement raises federal spending by approximately $320 billion. The national debt is currently more than $22 trillion. In FY2018, the deficit was about $800 billion.
“I think they should play the debt ceiling card — that’s a very powerful card, absolutely — that’s the thing that bothers me about the Republicans. They have so much power, they have so much negotiating — and they don’t see to be doing it, it amazes me,” Trump said during a news conference at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2013.
“The Republicans have so much power but they don’t seem to realize it and every day that goes by their power dissipates and that’s a bad thing,” Trump added.
Trump explained that he would use the debt limit to strike a strong budget agreement with Congress.
“I want to use the debt ceiling to make a deal so that we can straighten out this country, which is a total mess. We can straighten out this country and we can all go back to work,” Trump said.
“It’s a very powerful negotiating tool. They haven’t used it really. They haven’t used it with great power. I would use the debt ceiling to negotiate a big deal and a proper deal so the country could get back on track,” he added.