As the June 1 deadline to raise the debt ceiling approaches, NBC News’ Chuck Todd blasted Republican Congressman Byron Donalds for defending Donald Trump’s flip-flopping on whether debt negotiations should be used as a way to push partisan agendas.
During Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Todd asked Donalds to respond to a clip of the former president saying in 2019 that he “can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,” specifically prompting the Florida representative to explain why he disagrees with Trump in this case.
Before getting down to business on the issue, Donalds noted that despite Trump’s comments from several years ago, the former president also recently mentioned when asked why he was contradicting now what he said then, explained his pivot was “because he’s not president,” referring to last week’s CNN town hall moderated by Kaitlan Collins.
“Do you realize how absurd that sounds?” Todd interjected to ask Donalds, who quickly shot back “That is not absurd.”
WATCH: In 2019, Donald Trump said he couldn't imagine anyone using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge.
Rep. @ByronDonalds (R-Fla.) defends him: "He said that when he was president. … [Now] he's not president."@chucktodd: "Do you realize how absurd that sounds?" pic.twitter.com/CmFgP4ZWPu
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 21, 2023
Todd cut in again to ask, “How is that not absurd?” and confirmed “it’s absurd,” before Donalds proceeded to unequivocally support the former president’s whims.
“He is always negotiating, Chuck. That’s what he does,” Donalds said. “It’s actually one of the reasons why so many deals for our country worked out to our benefit as compared to his predecessors, both Republican and Democrat, because he’s always negotiating.”
Donalds’ defense clearly did not do the trick for Todd as he pushed the Florida rep once again to see why Trump’s back-and-forth statements are problematic, asking “but do you realize how partisan that sounds?”
“He is, basically, saying ‘when I’m president, there’s no negotiating on this, but hey, when somebody else is president, screw them,'” Todd said.
Donalds had his last shot defending Trump, who is gearing up to go head-to-head with Ron DeSantis for the 2024 President Republican nominee spot, noting that the “environment” regarding the debt ceiling was very different at the time as compared to this year’s negotiations.
“Let’s be realistic now, when Donald Trump was negotiating debt ceiling with Nancy Pelosi, mind you, they negotiated that —“ Donalds said, but Todd cut in to reject the statement, noting the administration raised the ceiling “without any restrictions” before letting Donalds finish his thought.
“When they were doing that, our economy was thriving, our debt levels were not where they are right now … we weren’t having massive deficits the way we are right now, it was a very different environment,” Donalds continued. “Now you have $32 trillion on the credit card and all house Republicans are saying is ‘let’s go back to pre-pandemic spending,’ — that’s common sense stuff.”