Donald Trump assailed the media on Monday for what he said was a misrepresentation of his comments on debt, rejecting the notion that he would have the United States default on his debt.
“I said if we can buy back government debt as a discount. In other words, if interest rates go up and we can buy bonds back as a discount, if we are liquid enough as a country we should do that. In other words, we can buy back debt as a discount,” the presumptive Republican nominee said in a telephone interview on CNN’s “New Day.”
Story Continued Below
Those who said he wants to buy debt and default on it are “crazy,” he added.
“This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money. I hate to tell you. So there’s never a default. But the point is it was reported in the New York Times incorrectly,” he said, referring to a critical Times article that ran on Friday.
That article examined an interview Trump gave to CNBC last Thursday in which he suggested that he could reduce the national debt by persuading U.S. creditors to accept less than full payment.
“It was reported in the failing New York Times and other places that I want to default on debt,” Trump said. “You know, I’m the king of debt. I understand debt probably better than anybody. I know how to deal with debt very well. I love debt but you know, debt is tricky and it’s dangerous and you have to be careful and you have to know know what you’re doing. If there’s a chance to buy back debt as a discount, interest rates up and the bonds down and you can buy debt. That’s what I’m talking about.”
No one would ever confuse business dealings with government practice, Trump suggested, remarking that the government would not ask creditors to buy back debt at a discount.
“In business, that happens all the time. I bought mortgages back when the market went bad, I bought mortgages back at tremendous discounts. And I love doing it. I mean, there’s nothing like it. Actually, it gives me a great thrill,” he said. “But in the United States with bonds, that won’t happen. Because you know, in theory the market doesn’t go down so that you default on debt. And that’s what happened.”
“So here’s the story, just to have it corrected. If we have an opportunity where interest rates go up and you can buy back debt as a discount,” he explained. “I always like to do that, if you can do it. But that’s all I was talking about. They have it like I’m going to go back to creditors and I’m going to renegotiate restructured debt. It’s ridiculous and they know it’s ridiculous but they print it out wrong purposely.”
Trump then called into Fox Business Network where he reiterated much of the same, calling it a “wonderful thing” if the U.S. government is able to buy back bonds at a discount.
“All I said is that if interest rates go up, we’ll have a chance to buy back bonds at a discount, which is standard,” he told Maria Bartiromo. “Certainly I’m not talking about renegotiating with creditors.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 9, 2016