Trump admin intends to change course on budget: White House official

Trump administration through its proposed budget wants to send a message to allies like India that the country is changing its course from a soft power budget to a hard power budget, a senior White House official has said.

“There’s a very deliberate attempt here to send a message to our allies and our friends, such as India, and our adversaries, other countries, shall we say, which is that this is a hard-power budget; that this administration intends to change course from a soft power budget to a hard power budget,” Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget told reporters at a White House news conference.

“That’s a message that our adversaries and our allies alike should take,” the top White House official said as the Democratic lawmakers and foreign policy experts slammed the Trump administration for a drastic 28 per cent reduction in the foreign aid budget, which mostly is routed through the State Department.

Trump had proposed a USD 1.1 trillion budget on Thursday, requesting a massive USD 54 billion increase in defence spending and a substantial cut in the State Department allocations particularly foreign aid.

The White House defended its decision to cut diplomacy funding.

“One of the reasons that you’re seeing such a dramatic reduction in the State Department on a percentage basis is not that this president thinks that diplomacy is not important. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve already seen that Secretary Tillerson has had a tremendous diplomatic success already on the deal he cut with Iraq,” Mulvaney said.

Trump, he said, believes in diplomacy.

“We believe that this budget protects that core function of the State Department. It just so happens that much of the foreign aid that the President talked about in the campaign, much of the money that goes to climate research, green energy, those types of things, they’re actually in the State Department budget,” he noted.

(Agencies)

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