Trump says Democrats shouldn't use debt ceiling as leverage

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE said Friday that Democrats should not use the debt ceiling as leverage amid ongoing negotiations between his administration and Congress.

"I can't imagine anybody using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge," Trump said in the Oval Office, calling the debt limit a "sacred thing in our country."

Trump added that he's hopeful a deal is close on raising the debt limit, but did not provide further details on negotiations.

"Hopefully we’re in good shape on the debt ceiling," Trump said.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent letters to congressional leadership last week warning that the government could run out of money in early September unless Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling before leaving for the August recess. 

Democrats believe that packaging the debt ceiling with a budget bill will provide more leverage in spending negotiations. GOP senators say there’s little desire in their conference to vote on a standalone proposal to increase the nation’s debt limit, something that’s broadly unpopular with the base.

House Republicans, including current acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE, used the debt limit as leverage in fierce negotiations during the Obama administration.

Trump himself tweeted in 2012 that “Republicans must use the debt ceiling as leverage to make a great deal!”

Mnuchin said earlier this week that he's had "productive" talks with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUSMCA is nice but no model Anti-impeachment Democrat poised to switch parties Grassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks MORE (D-Calif.) and that Democrats, Republicans and the White House are all in agreement that packaging a budget deal and a debt ceiling increase "is the first choice."

He said he expects lawmakers to stay in Washington, D.C., and vote to increase the debt ceiling if they are unable to agree on a broader spending deal before August recess is set to begin.