On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump took aim at one of his favorite targets, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and accused him of “folding” to Democrats over a proposed deal to delay a possible default on the debt ceiling.
Trump’s criticism of McConnell immediately followed McConnell’s offer of a deal to Democrats that would allow them to raise the U.S.’s ability to borrow money until December, without have to use reconciliation or to bypass the filibuster.
In a statement, Trump stated, “Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again. He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our country!”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other Democrats warned that not raising the debt ceiling could trigger a major economic crisis, one Yellen says could make the U.S. “a permanently weaker nation.”
Per the terms of the deal, Congress can the debt ceiling by roughly $480 billion. The Treasury Department had previously stated that the nation would run short of funds by October 18.
In a statement that may prove that Trump is correct to call McConnell’s actions “folding,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “Basically, I’m glad that Mitch McConnell finally saw the light.” The Republicans “have finally done the right thing and at least we now have another couple months in order to get a permanent solution.”
With a bit more snark, Sen. Chris Murphy said that provided the final details of the agreement were in place, “for the next three months, we’ll continue to make it clear that we are ready to continue to vote to pay our bills and Republicans aren’t.”
In a statement released on Thursday, McConnell appeared to call the Democrats’ bluff on time constraints regarding the debt ceiling:
“The pathway our Democratic colleagues have accepted will spare the American people any near-term crisis, while definitively resolving the majority’s excuse that they lacked time to address the debt limit through (reconciliation). Now there will be no question: They’ll have plenty of time.”
Prior to the agreement on Thursday, McConnell had insisted that Democrats were on their own in raising the debt ceiling. However, he offered the conciliation on Wednesday.
Not everyone in the GOP was on board with the agreement. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed with Trump. saying, “This is a complete capitulation.” He added:
“I think this is just a mistake. I don’t understand why here at the very end we did this fold, because what you’re gonna do is you’re going to embolden his folks. And I’m not going to live under the threat of the filibuster being changed every time we have a fight. I didn’t do that when we were in charge. If they want to change the filibuster, change it.”
It is no secret that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have never been best of friends. By all accounts they have had a cordial working relationship. That ended on January 6, 2020, when McConnell went after Trump for challenging the 2020 presidential election results.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Trump had contacted senators and other Trump allies to gauge any interest in getting McConnell out of GOP leadership.
During a recent interview with The Federalist, Trump said, “I think Mitch McConnell has proven to be a disaster. He’s not good for the Republican Party as a leader, and I wish I wouldn’t have endorsed him.”
As to the debt ceiling, Trump had this to say:
“The way I look at it, what the Democrats are proposing, on so many different levels, will destroy our country. Therefore, Republicans have no choice but to do what they have to do, and the Democrats will have no choice but to concede all of the horror they are trying to inflict upon the future of the United States.”
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