Trump: Military Strength More Important Than Balanced Budget

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Building a strong military, even if that means short-term deficit spending, is more important than balancing the federal budget, President Donald Trump said in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity Thursday.

“We have to take care of our military,” Trump said. “Our military is more important to me than a balanced budget. Because we’ll get there with a balanced budget,” Trump said.

Trump said he will work with Congress to end recession-era mandatory defense budget cuts known as the sequester as part of the White House’s “making our military strong again” policy.

“So a balanced budget is fine,” Trump said. “But sometimes you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy going” Trump said, indicating federal spending on weapons systems can boost jobs in U.S. defense companies.

Hannity mentioned that Trump is already working with Lockheed Martin to reduce the price of the F-35. “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane. Hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time,” Trump said.

After tweeting that the Department of Defense should “cancel” an order for F-35s due to the cost, Trump met with Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson several times to discuss the price of the next batch of F-35 orders. (RELATED: Lockheed CEO To Trump: F-35 Is Worth It Because It Creates Jobs)

Reports of other ways Trump plans to reduce the budget by $10.5 trillion over the next decade include reducing grants and spending on climate change projects, eliminating spending on things like the National Endowment for the arts, and generally, cutting back entitlement programs.

Republican budget experts say it will be impossible to truly cut the deficit without restructuring automatic payments to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, something Trump has promised not to do.

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