In his latest act of self-contradiction, President Donald Trump proclaimed Friday that not only were negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling in “good shape,” but also that he could not “imagine” anybody even “thinking” of using the debt ceiling as leverage.
“I can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,” Trump remarked in the Oval Office Friday, before riffing for a minute.
“When I first came into office I asked about the debt ceiling, and I understand debt ceilings, and I certainly understand the highest rated credit in history, and the debt ceiling, and I said, I remember, to Sen. Schumer and to Nancy Pelosi, ‘Would anybody ever use that to negotiate with? And they said ‘absolutely not, that’s a sacred element of our country. They can’t use the debt ceiling to negotiate,” Trump said.
In 2012 and 2013, Trump thought differently. Back then, he tweeted that Republicans “have the cards because of the debt ceiling—but it doesn’t seem that way!” adding a few days later: “The Republicans must use the debt ceiling as leverage to make a great deal!”
The Republicans must use the debt ceiling as leverage to make a great deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2012
As the federal government approaches its own self-imposed borrowing limit, Congress must act to raise it. Bloomberg News reported Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had rejected a White House demand to identify $150 billion in potential cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Trump said Friday, “When they start talking about using the debt ceiling as a wedge to negotiate for things that they want, they have told me very strongly they would never use that, that’s a very, very sacred thing in our country. We can never play with it.”