Leading budget hawks are soundly rejecting Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE’s claim that he can eliminate more than $19 trillion of national debt in eight years.
“That's ridiculous,” former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who served as the top budget adviser to President George W. Bush, said during a panel hosted by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Daniels’s comments were seconded by the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, Alice Rivlin.
“I’ll tell you a secret: He can’t do it,” said Rivlin, who also led the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBill Clinton expected to be released from hospital on Sunday Democratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races Biden giving stiff-arm to press interviews MORE.
Trump made the pledge in a Saturday interview with The Washington Post. When asked how he would achieve such a drastic reduction of the deficit, Trump said he wasn’t looking at tax increases.
“I don’t think I’ll need to [raise taxes]. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad,” Trump said.
The same day, Trump’s promise was called “nonsensical” by the Post’s independent Fact Checker blog.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is nonpartisan, has said that Trump’s tax and economics plan would actually drive the debt up to about $38 trillion — nearly double the current level.
Economists across the spectrum have scoffed at Trump’s pledge. To slash $19 trillion from the federal deficit could require cutting the annual $4 trillion budget in half to pay off the country’s debt holders.
Trump’s pledge to eliminate the current debt also doesn’t include the projected increase of nearly $6.8 trillion between 2017 and 2024.
—This post was updated April 5 at 2:46 p.m.