Donald Trump said unequivocally Thursday morning that "this is the time" for government to borrow money for multiple spending priorities, an unusual position for the standard bearer of a GOP that made fiscal restraint one its signature positions during the tea party wave just six years ago.
As he has in the past, Trump cited low interest rates and the nation's infrastructure as reasons to take out more debt. He also pointed to veterans programs and the U.S.'s "very depleted" military as additional reasons to hike federal expenditures.
"I've always, you know, respected leverage, but I've always loved it. But a country is a different thing. However, with that being said, the interest rates are so low, I mean, the numbers are so low, that, yes, this is a time to borrow and to borrow long-term," the Republican nominee for president on CNBC.
Trump doubled down on a previous comment that the government would need to spend at least twice as much on infrastructure as Hillary Clinton has proposed in order to restore the nation's surface and air transportation systems. He has said he would fund the projects with bonds, adding Thursday that they could be incentivized with credits. He also said he would limit costs by using "the proper procedures" in awarding contracts and monitoring construction progress.
"[Y]ou could even privatize certain things," he added.
"Normally you would say you want to reduce your debt. And I would like to reduce debt, too, as much as anybody. The problem is you have a military problem, you have an infrastructure problem, a tremendous infrastructure problem. And you have other problems," Trump concluded, a shocking statement from a GOP candidate in the era of Paul Ryan.
"And also, the asset is your rates are so low. What's going to happen when the rates eventually will go up and you can't borrow, you absolutely can't borrow because it's too expensive? It would destroy our balance sheet, totally destroy the balance sheet. So you'd be paying so little interest right now, this is the time to borrow."
The Republican party platform highlights recent legislative achievements on infrastructure, such as the reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund during the current session of Congress. But it does not advocate a massive increase in investment, instead stressing the need to reallocate and prioritize transportation dollars and eliminate regulations.
The platform says the following about the national debt:
"Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations."