What Is Donald Trump Saying Now?
Many of the things Donald Trump said in his CNN town hall event on Wednesday were long-debunked lies. Another one was merely an exceptionally bad policy proposal.
When asked about the budget and debt ceiling talks by moderator Kaitlan Collins, Trump suggested that the GOP “do a default.”
Such a default, long a threat during past budget showdowns, would be the first in U.S. history.
“I say to the Republicans out there, congressmen and senators, if they don’t give you massive cuts you are going to have to do a default,” Trump said.
It’s much easier to call for a default if one is presently out of government and not responsible for the fallout, which would likely be catastrophic for the economy. And when Trump was president, the debt ceiling was raised — without any “massive cuts” — multiple times without incident.
Trump did instigate a pair of government shutdowns during his presidency, including one when his own party controlled Congress, but neither of those was about the debt ceiling.
A Big Mistake for Trump
Following the ex-president’s comments Wednesday, Republican senators were less than enthused with the idea of a default, The Hill reported.
“I don’t think anybody suggesting that ‘we have to do a default’ is wise policy, wise strategy for this country,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told the publication. “Right now, the talks are going on with the top four and of course the White House, and now the staffs. What we want to do is encourage that every step of the way.”
“Most people recognize we need to strike a deal here,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told The Hill. “I don’t think we want to go there with the potential consequences.”
“Nobody thinks default is a good idea. Nobody,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, per The Hill.
“Yeah, well, we can’t do a default but we should find a way to reach a compromise. That’s what you expect a president to do,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a frequent Trump critic, said of the comments.
More Crazy Ideas…
There was more fallout from comments Trump made Wednesday night. When discussing the possible case against him related to classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump made a statement that could end up hurting him down the line.
According to NBC News, when Trump said on CNN that he had “every right” to take boxes from the White House, the former president “appeared to contradict statements by his lawyers, and provide potentially important evidence for federal prosecutors investigating whether to charge him with a crime.”
“I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassified,” Trump said of the documents.
Legal experts told NBC that Trump’s comments may have made a criminal indictment more likely.
“Trump’s comments hurt him, and what he said is significant,” John Fishwick, a former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, told NBC.
“Not only do they contradict his legal position, he admits to possession and knowledge of classified documents that he is taking from the White House. [Special Counsel] Jack Smith will make good use of last night’s town hall and it will help him button up his case.”
In addition, per the New York Times, E. Jean Carroll — who won a $5 million verdict after a jury found that Trump both sexually abused and defamed her — may sue Trump again, based on comments he made in the town hall.
So while many opponents of Trump, and even some CNN employees, were angry that CNN gave him an hour of airtime before a friendly audience, things he said during the CNN town hall may have both put him at odds with Republicans in Congress, made him vulnerable to another lawsuit, and put him in further criminal legal jeopardy.
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.