NBC’s Chuck Todd knocked Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) for defending former President Donald Trump’s “absurd” flip on using the debt ceiling as leverage in negotiations. (You can check out Todd’s comments in the clip below.)
The “Meet the Press” host asked Donalds on Sunday whether he would be “comfortable” with a debt ceiling deal that could pass in Congress but isn’t embraced by progressives or the hard-right Freedom Caucus. When Donalds didn’t give a straight answer, Todd cut to a clip of Trump from 2019.
“I can’t imagine anybody ever even using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,” Trump, then president, said at the time.
In CNN’s town hall with Trump earlier this month, moderator Kaitlan Collins asked about the comment.
“Sure, that’s when I was president,” said Trump, who has suggested GOP lawmakers should cause the U.S. to default on the national debt if Democrats don’t agree to “massive cuts.”
“So why’s it different now that you’re out of office?” Collins asked.
“Because now I’m not president,” responded Trump, garnering laughter and applause from the friendly crowd.
Donalds brought up the moment from the town hall before Todd interrupted him.
“Do you realize how absurd that sounds?” Todd said.
“That is not absurd,” the congressman said.
“How is that not absurd? It’s absurd,” Todd replied.
Donalds noted that Trump is “always negotiating,” and the host interjected.
“But you realize how partisan that sounds?” Todd asked. “What is good for me is not for thee. He’s basically saying, ‘When I’m president, there’s no negotiating on this but — hey — when somebody else is president, screw ’em.’”
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are set to continue talks on the debt ceiling at the White House on Monday. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the country could default on its obligations as soon as June 1 if the debt ceiling is not raised.