Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state under Donald Trump, appeared to criticize the former president’s administration on Sunday for adding $6 trillion to the country’s deficit.
Pompeo, who is expected to run for president against Trump in 2024, appeared as a guest on Fox News Sunday and was asked by host Shannon Bream about how he believed he would handle the country’s debts and deficit compared to his former boss. Initially, Pompeo said that he or any other conservative president would handle such matters better than past administrations.
“I think a President Pompeo or any conservative president will do better than not only we did in the four years of the Trump administration, [but also] Barack Obama, George Bush,” Pompeo said. “The list is long, Shannon, of folks who come to Washington on one theory and aren’t prepared to stand up before the American people and explain how we’re actually going to get that right.”
He continued: “It matters to the next generation, the system is at risk if we don’t get it right, we are $31 trillion in the hole. We’ve got to be able to grow the economy, build it back with lower taxes, and when we do that… we’ll get it back right. It’s going to take a true conservative leader.”
FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Would a President Pompeo do a better job managing the deficit & debt than a President Trump did?
POMPEO: I think a President Pompeo or any conservative POTUS would do better.
FOX: Are you saying President Trump wasn’t a true conservative?
P: $6t more in debt. pic.twitter.com/QR4QnnNslA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 5, 2023
Picking up on the end of Pompeo’s response, Bream asked if he thought Trump had not been a “true conservative leader” during his time in the Oval Office.
“Six trillion dollars more in debt, that’s never the right direction for the country,” Pompeo said.
A Newsweek report from the end of Trump’s presidency found that the national deficit had increased by about $7.8 trillion during his four years in office, up from $19.9 trillion in 2017 to $27.7 trillion in 2021, a roughly 40 percent jump. On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump said that he would be able to eliminate the entirety of the deficit over the course of eight years and two terms as president, which he ultimately did not get. While stimulus initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed significantly to this increase, the deficit had been climbing under Trump prior to 2020 as well.
Economists largely pinned the deficit hike under Trump on one of his most significant pieces of legislation, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill, which provided tax breaks mostly for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, led to significant shortfalls in tax revenue.
Trump was the first major Republican to declare his candidacy for 2024. He has since been joined in the race by former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Meanwhile, his most significant competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has not announced any plans if he is running for president yet. In January, Pompeo said that he would make the decision regarding his potential candidacy in the “next handful of months.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s office for comment.
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