Trump says Democrats shouldn't use debt ceiling as leverage

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative 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 MulvaneyTrump's latest plan to undermine Social Security Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report 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 Pelosi11 Essential reads you missed this week Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? 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.