President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he will not use his executive power to reduce or eliminate federal tax credits for homeownership.
Trump, who has been campaigning on reducing the nation’s debt and debt burden, made the comments in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.
He also said he would not use the powers of his office to “cash the check” of the middle class, saying he does not want to “spend more money” on “people who can’t afford to pay.”
Trump’s comments come after several conservative organizations released a letter signed by over 100,000 people, urging him to stop the push for the repeal of the mortgage interest deduction and other tax breaks.
The groups said the moves would leave “a significant loophole for the wealthy and corporations.”
The letter says it is “very doubtful” that the president can use his authority under the Budget Control Act to eliminate tax breaks and credits, as he has promised to do.
Trump told Harwood that “cash is not the answer” to our country’s debt, according to the interview.
“I don’t want to spend more money.
I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Trump, a Republican, said during the interview that he does believe “that if we had a lot of debt, and we were not able to get out of debt and we could get out and spend more, I would have more confidence in people paying their taxes.”
The president has repeatedly said he will do away with the mortgage-interest deduction.
Trump has proposed a 10 percent surcharge on the cost of a home.
“I would have a much better chance if we could eliminate that deduction, I will be for it,” Trump said in July, when asked about the mortgage deduction.
“If you look at what I did with the [tax] credit program, it’s much better.”
In addition to cutting the mortgage credit, Trump also said in the CNBC interview that the country would have to pay “a tremendous amount of interest.”
“If we do a lot, a lot and a lot in interest payments, it will be devastating,” Trump told Harwoods.
“We’re going to have to be very, very careful.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.