WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would look to cut defense costs in future budgets after ramping up military spending during his first 2-1/2 years in office.
The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote this week on a Trump-backed budget that includes $738 billion for defense spending, helping push the budget deficit to near $1 trillion.
“We now have a very strong military. A lot stronger after this last budget. And then at some point very soon I’ll be able to cut back. But we had to rebuild our military,” Trump told the C-Span cable channel in an interview.
Trump has increased defense spending in each of his budgets since entering the White House in 2017, after accusing his predecessors of depleting the military.
But some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, who are generally supportive of increased defense spending, have criticized the ballooning budget deficits as fiscally irresponsible.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed the budget, which also adds money for domestic social programs, with tepid Republican support.
Asked about his agenda if he wins a second term in 2020, Trump said: “I think getting costs, now that the military is very close to being totally rebuilt, I think costs are going to be a big factor.”
Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore