Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, at a Manhattan courthouse, in New York City, Oct. 2, 2023. — REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

 – Donald Trump laid out some of his financial priorities on Monday and defended his planned 10% across-the-board tariffs, saying any resulting price increase for families could be offset by tax cuts and calling for his 2017 tax cuts to be extended.

The Republican US presidential candidate, speaking in an interview on CNBC, also called for action on popular US entitlement programs, including cuts, and indicated he was not likely to curb use of cryptocurrencies.

Asked about concerns over increased political polarization on the nation’s financial stability, Trump said he was concerned about Fitch’s 2023 downgrade but dismissed the credit rating downgrade’s ties to the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Mr. Trump’s comments are his first extended remarks on his economic plans since he became the party’s likely nominee following last week’s “Super Tuesday” primary elections, setting up a rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

His tariff plan has spurred talk of inflation, and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said it would raise costs for American consumers.

“I think taxes could be cut, I think other things could happen to more than adjust that. But I’m a big believer in tariffs,” Trump told CNBC, saying they help American industries when they are “being taken advantage of” by China and other nations.

“Beyond the economics, it gives you power in dealing with other countries,” he said, adding that he was not concerned about any possible retaliatory tariffs if he were to regain the White House.

Asked about Medicare, Social Security and Medicare programs and the nation’s spending and deficits, Mr. Trump told CNBC: “There is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements in terms of cutting and in terms of also the theft and the bad management.”

On bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Mr. Trump said he has “seen that there has been a lot of use of that. And I’m not sure that I’d want to take it away.” – Reuters