Donald Trump Sees Debt Ceiling, Default Threat as Republican Leverage Over Joe Biden

Donald Trump has said that Republicans have a "very strong card to play" with regards to the standoff on whether to raise the current debt ceiling.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Trump suggested the GOP could use the debate on whether to raise the debt level from its $28.4 trillion maximum to their advantage as President Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party urge the Republican Party to back plans to do so before October 18.

When asked whether the government should raise the debt ceiling by Yahoo Finance's Adam Shapiro, Trump originally started to discuss the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill which is currently being debated by Democrats, despite the bill not dealing with the government debt.

"I think we're in trouble no matter what. If you raise it, that's not a good thing because the bill is so bad—the $3.5 trillion—and if you raise it, bad and if you don't raise it, bad. It's a bad situation to be in," Trump said.

"It's tremendous borrowing. There's no way that they can take this... they're saying it's net neutral. It's not net neutral; it's just the opposite of net neutral. So this will add to it whether it's immediately or into the longer term."

When asked by Shapiro if he is suggesting the government should cancel the debt ceiling and default on the current debt, Trump replied: "I will say this, the Republicans have a very strong card to play and they can get a lot of what they want and what they feel."

While continuing to falsely claim that the 2020 election was rigged against him, Trump said that Biden's presidency is not "a mandate to change the norms of our society" and the GOP could use the potential crises if the debt issue is not resolved to demand certain concessions.

He added: "This was not a mandate to become a socialist country or worse.

"The Republicans have to play the cards that they're dealt. Now that's a very, very powerful card. It's a very strong card. Hopefully they won't have to play it but I think they will in order to do something with the 3.5 [trillion] and other things."

In his Monday address, Biden urged the GOP to "stop playing Russian roulette with the American economy" and agree to vote to raise the debt ceiling in order to stop a default and cause the economy to plummet.

"If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don't destroy it," Biden said.

Biden added that the government needs to raise the debt ceiling because of the "reckless tax and spending policies" under the Trump administration.

"In four years, they incurred almost $8 trillion in additional debt, in bills we have to now pay off," Biden said.

"That's more than a quarter of the entire debt incurred, now outstanding, in more than 200 years. Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president, and each time with Democrat support. Now they won't raise it."

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has opposed raising the debt ceiling, suggesting it could pave the way for the Biden administration to move forward with its $3.5 trillion budget package and other progressive ideas.

The GOP has suggested it is Democrats' responsibility to raise the limit themselves as they control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

"There is no chance—no chance—the Republican conference will go out of our way to help Democrats conserve their time and energy so they can resume ramming through partisan socialism as fast as possible," McConnell told the Senate floor on September 28.

The Treasury has noted that since 1960, Congress has either permanently raised, temporarily extended, or revised the definition of the debt limit since 1960—49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

"Congressional leaders in both parties have recognized that this is necessary," the agency states on their website.

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia. Trump said the GOP have a "very strong card to play" as the party is urged to back plans to raise debt ceiling. Sean Rayford/Getty Images