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Trump promised to get rid of red ink in 8 years. But the deficit just topped $1 trillion for the first time since 2012.

Trump promised to get rid of red ink in 8 years. But the deficit just topped $1 trillion for the first time since 2012.

donald trump chart debt obamaJoe Raedle/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump said as a candidate in 2016 that he would completely eliminate the national debt within eight years.
  • But the US has moved the opposite direction since then as spending steadily outpaced receipts.
  • The national deficit topped $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, the Treasury Department said this week. 
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President Donald Trump has for years criticized politicians on both sides of the aisle for the size of the federal debt. But it has continued to jump on his watch, surpassing $22 trillion this year.  

“TIME TO CUT, CAP AND BALANCE,” he wrote on Twitter in 2011. “There is no revenue problem.The Debt Limit cannot be raised until Obama spending is contained.” 

Such broadsides would soon turn into the promise that he could do a better job. He said as a presidential candidate in 2016 that he would completely eliminate the national debt within eight years, though the US has moved the opposite direction since then as spending steadily outpaced receipts. 

The Treasury Department said Thursday the national deficit topped $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year. The last time it had topped that point was 2012 as the US continued to pursue aggressive stimulus measures to combat the global financial crisis. 

The August jump this year was similarly fueled by lower taxes and increased spending. But it came against a backdrop of a solid economy, which typically allows more room to chip away at the deficit. Economists said the gap has widened in part because of Republican tax cuts passed in 2017 and spending increases supported by both parties. 

“House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets,” the president wrote of a recent spending deal that would lift the debt ceiling until July 2021 and permanently end a series of automatic spending cuts. “I am totally with you!”

The Congressional Budget Office projected annual deficits would begin to hit $1 trillion in 2020. Because the month of September typically brings in more funds than in are spent, this year could still come in under that point.

The White House did not respond to an email requesting comment.

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