During the GOP debate Wednesday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) called out Donald Trump for not being on the debate stage.
“Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight,” DeSantis said. “He owes it to you to defend his record, where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt. That set the stage for the inflation that we have.”
For starters, I should point out that while DeSantis’s criticism of Trump’s absence was legitimate, blaming Trump for inflation is a huge reach and sounds like something that Joe Biden would say (probably because Biden has blamed Trump for the inflation that started spiking on Biden’s watch.
The Biden campaign pounced on the quote and shared a clip on X (formerly known as Twitter):
DeSantis: “[Donald Trump] owes it to you to defend his record where they added 7.8 trillion to the debt. That set the stage for the inflation that we have now” pic.twitter.com/ztIIWBzZhU
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 28, 2023
Someone controlling Joe Biden’s Twitter account retweeted the clip as well, adding, “Couldn’t agree more.”
While DeSantis made the mistake of essentially blaming Trump for Bidenflation, sharing the clip was a silly move on the Biden campaign’s part for two major reasons.
As DeSantis noted, the debt increased $7.8 trillion under Trump, yet so far on Joe Biden’s watch, $5 trillion has been added to the debt, and that’s without the pandemic spending that accounted for most of the debt accrued in FY 2020 under Trump. So the Biden campaign really can’t claim to have the high ground on spending… especially in the context of the inflation debate. The current national debt is over $33 trillion.
But the other issue involves the key point DeSantis was making, which was that Donald Trump wasn’t on stage with his primary candidates to defend his record — an extremely fair argument.
You know who else isn’t debating his primary opponents? Joe Biden.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson are two other declared candidates in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary. Most of the country thinks Joe Biden is too old and mentally incompetent to be president, and Democrats are certainly entitled to a choice. But the Democratic Party isn’t going to hold any debates. Kennedy, for one, has consistently been polling in the double digits against Biden. Democrat voters want a choice, and they’re being denied one in order to protect Biden, who, for some reason decided to run for president again.
As a Republican voter, I think Trump should have been on the stage Wednesday night, just as I think Democrat voters should want Joe Biden to make the case for nominating him again in a debate with his primary opponents.
Not only is Biden not debating his primary opponents, but he’s also skipping two primary contests: the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries. Yet his campaign posted a clip of DeSantis criticizing Trump for not debating? That’s rich.
DeSantis shouldn’t have suggested that Trump bears any blame for the inflation that occurred on Biden’s watch, but the Biden campaign was quite stupid for thinking that sharing that clip was a good idea.