Trump takes back claim he could eliminate national debt
© Getty Images

Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE this week walked back his assertion that he could eliminate the country’s debt after two terms as president.

In an interview with Fortune Magazine published Friday, Trump was asked how his pledge to pay off the $19 trillion debt in 10 years was possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No, I didn’t say 10 years,” Trump responded. “First of all, with low interest rates, you can think in terms of refinancings, and get it down. 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 had, in fact, told The Washington Post editorial board earlier this month that he would pay off the debt in eight years by renegotiating trade deals. The Post called that claim “nonsensical.” 

His plan was also derided by budget hawks, who called it ridiculous.

Trump added in the Fortune interview that he now wants to pay off a “percentage” of it, but he hasn’t decided what that figure would be.

“It depends on how aggressive you want to be,” he said. “I’d rather not be so aggressive. Don’t forget: We have to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. 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.”