Former President Donald Trump remains in the spotlight this week, and not just for his legal woes.
He took part in a Republican Town Hall event on Wednesday, which was hosted by CNN. The cable news outlet has since faced a major backlash for giving a platform for the twice-impeached Trump, with The Atlantic even declaring, “CNN Went Full Jerry Springer – The network’s president made an indefensible decision in airing an episode of Trump’s ongoing reality show.”
In Trump fashion, the former president called it a success as it drew in more than three million viewers according to Nielsen Media Research data. That represented a more than 300 percent increase for a typical weeknight prime-time program for CNN, which consistently trails Fox News and MSNBC.
Moreover, Trump was also Trump in that he made bold claims media watchdogs quickly called outright lies, including the claim that the 2020 election was stolen. He also repeatedly declined to say whether he wants Ukraine or Russia to win the ongoing war.
A Bad Week, or a Bad Day – Really!
The biggest takeaway from Trump’s seemingly off-the-cuff comments came when he was asked what his advice to Republicans would be regarding the impasse over the debt ceiling. GOP leaders have refused to agree to raise the limit until the White House agrees to spending cuts.
“If they don’t give you massive cuts,” Trump said, “You’re going to have to do a default.”
He went on to say that the Democrats will cave but further suggested that a failure to raise the nation’s debt limit “could be maybe nothing,” essentially shrugging off the concerns.
“It’s really psychological more than anything else,” Trump then explained. “And it could be really bad, it could be maybe nothing, maybe it’s a bad week, or a bad day, who knows?”
Even the most ardent Trump support would have to admit that such a comment shouldn’t be seen as the least bit presidential, and most economists warn that a default should never be taken so lightly.
What Could Happen
The United States has never defaulted on its debts. A close call in 2011, however, was enough that it impacted global financial markets and prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA.
That might seem like more of a Wall Street than Main Street issue, but a default would be disastrous for the United States as a whole.
It will impact federal workers, while the 1.4 million active-duty military personnel wouldn’t be paid. Seniors wouldn’t receive their social security payments on time, and other programs – including food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare – would also be put on hold.
“Getting even to this point sends the wrong signal to our allies and adversaries alike around the world,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, Foreign Policy reported. “It shows a level of dysfunction that then hurts our credibility on the global stage. And if we were to actually go over the cliff and default, it would hurt our global standing substantially.”
Trump Actually Wants a Default
Given these facts, a question can be asked – why would Trump offer such seemingly bad advice to allow a default to happen, or worse even encourage it?
The reason is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention for the past two and a half years since Trump was defeated in the 2020 election.
Donald Trump wants a default to happen. He likely believes voters will blame President Joe Biden next year, not the Republicans in Congress. As Trump currently has a slight edge over Biden in recent polls, a default could work in Trump’s favor. Americans who are hurting will be angry, and Trump expects that anger will be directed at the current occupant of the White House.
A businessman would understand the ramifications of a default, but clearly, Trump cares more about returning to the White House than he does about what it means for the American people.
That would be a very bad way to win – not only because of the term ramifications, but we don’t need both sides to weaponize the pain of Americans to gain favor and get elected. That is how dictators take power, not those who believe in democracy.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.