President Trump was asked at his wide-ranging press conference Friday about the roughly $2 trillion increase in public debt during the first two years of his administration:
Question: Let me also ask you about the debt, sir, because it's gone from a shade under $20 trillion from when you took office. Now it's a shade over $22 trillion and heading in the wrong direction. What are your plans to reverse it?
President Trump: Well, it's all about growth. But before I really focus on that -- and you have to remember, President Obama put on more debt on this country than every president in the history of our country combined. So when I took over, we had one man that put on more debt than every other president combined. Combine them all. So you can't be talking about that. But I talk about it because I consider it very important.
But first I have to straighten out the military. The military was depleted. And if we don't have a strong military that hopefully we won't have to use because it's strong -- if we don't have a strong military, you don't have to worry about debt. You have bigger problems. So I had to straighten out the military. That's why I did the 700 and $716 billion.
But growth will straighten it out. You saw last month the trade deficit went way down. Everybody said, "What happened?" Well, what's happening is growth. But before I can focus too much on that, a very big expense is military. And we have no choice but to straighten out our military.