President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that, "in a sense", gains made by private financial markets reduce the national debt.
"You know the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country".
He told Sean Hannity, "Now, if you look at the stock market, that's one element, but then we have many other elements". Gains in the stock market are not automatically transferred to the federal government.
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The exclusive interview with Trump will be aired on "Hannity" at 9 p.m. on Fox News. Possibly picked up the whole thing in the first nine months, in terms of value.
"So you could say, in one sense, we're really increasing values", he continued. "But we're very honored by it", Trump said. "In zero sense does a stock market rally, which enriches corporations and investors and shareholders, translate into American taxpayers and the national debt".
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As Business Insider's Josh Barro theorized, it's possible that Trump was thinking about the national debt and the stock market in the same terms as one of his real-estate holdings-stocks are up in anticipation of future growth, which improves the government's hypothetical ability to service its debt.
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for additional information about the president's comments. No, a far more appropriate measurement would be to compare the national debt to the size of the national economy. If the USA funds expansions of education or infrastructure that allows for better and more economic activity, then it's money not just well spent, but as Trump would say, in a sense reducing debt.
During his campaign, Trump claimed that under his tutelage the USA would be debt-free within eight years-a feat that has not been accomplished since 1835.
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The national debt, which he correctly states is $20 trillion, is the result of the government spending more than it takes in. That would free up cash to pay down what the USA owes.