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Trump says will look to cut US defence budget in future

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President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would look to cut defence costs in future budgets after ramping up military spending during his first 2-1/2 years in office.

[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would look to cut defence 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 US$738 billion for defence spending, helping push the budget deficit to near US$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," Mr Trump told the C-Span cable channel in an interview.

Mr Trump has increased defence spending in each of his budgets since entering the White House in 2017, after accusing his predecessors of depleting the military.

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But some of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans, who are generally supportive of increased defence spending, have criticised the ballooning budget deficits as fiscally irresponsible.

Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed the budget, which also adds money for domestic social programmes, with tepid Republican support.

Asked about his agenda if he wins a second term in 2020, Mr 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."

REUTERS