Former President Donald Trump Wednesday urged Republicans in Congress to allow a debt default to happen if Democrats don’t agree to their budget proposal seeking major cuts to spending, a remark that is likely to further complicate ongoing negotiations on this issue between the House Republican leadership and the White House.
Commenting on the raising of the debt ceiling at CNN’s Town Hall event, Trump directly addressed Republican lawmakers in Congress and told them if Democrats “don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default.”
Trump then added that he doesn’t believe a default will happen, as he thinks “Democrats will absolutely cave.”
If a default does happen, the former president said he believes it will be better than “spending money like drunken sailors.”
The former president seemed unsure about the fallout of a debt default, saying “it could be really bad, it could be maybe nothing, maybe it’s a bad week, or a bad day, who knows?”
Trump’s remarks were met with immediate pushback from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who appeared on MSNBC and pointed out that the debt ceiling was raised thrice by Democrats during the Trump presidency “without partisanship, without gamesmanship.”
Jeffries also rejected the possibility of allowing a debt default to happen, calling the idea a “non-starter” that “cannot happen,” as it would greatly damage the U.S. economy.
Jeffries accused Trump of using the possibility of debt default and its economic fallout to gain a political advantage, saying: “Here we have a former president making this extraordinary declaration. In part, perhaps, it’s because they believe that if they blow up the economy, it may inure to their political benefit. I think they’re wrong about that, because the American people understand how extreme and how reckless and how dangerous this group of extreme MAGA Republicans have become.”
Last month, the Republican-led House passed legislation that agreed to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion through March 2024 but included $4.5 trillion worth of cuts in federal spending over the next 10 years by targeting several benefit programs. The proposed spending cuts seek the cancelation of President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan, claw back any unspent Covid-19 funding, slash the Internal Revenue Service’s budget and repeal clean energy incentives among other things. The Republican bill, however, is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate and Biden has said he would veto it if it comes to his desk. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that a debt default could have a catastrophic impact on the U.S. economy as the government could run out of money to pay its bill by early June if Congress fails to act.
Trump Town Hall: Trump Open To Pardoning Proud Boys For Seditious Conspiracy—And Calls Jan. 6 ‘Beautiful Day’ (Forbes)
Trump CNN Town Hall: Trump Calls Moderator Kaitlan Collins A ‘Nasty Person’ (Forbes)
Here’s Why The Debt Limit Matters—And How An Accidental Default Could Spark A Recession (Forbes)