Trump declares attacks on Biden's economy in debate

On Saturday, former President Donald Trump offered a transient glimpse of the ammunition he has stockpiled against President Joe Biden's handling of the economy ahead of next week's first presidential debate.

During his roughly 80-minute keynote speech at a conference of evangelical advocacy groups Coalition for Faith and FreedomTrump launched a barrage of attacks against Biden, including on economic issues resembling inflation, climate infrastructure spending and the growing federal deficit.

Specifically, regarding inflation, Trump hinted at a tactic he might use within the upcoming debate against Biden on June 27.

“I have a little thing here. I shouldn't show it. Maybe I should save it for the debate,” Trump said briefly before pulling out a miniature box of Tic Tac candies and holding a regular-sized box next to it.

“This is what inflation does to you. These are now Tic Tacs,” Trump continued, pointing to the miniature box as the gang roared with laughter. “This is what inflation did. I'm glad everyone in this room has good eyes. But I'm going to end the Biden inflation nightmare.”

Trump's Tic Tac demonstration represents a phenomenon that Biden himself has called “shrinkflation”: the practice of selling smaller items for a similar price. The White House is using “shrinkflation” as an attack on firms that it believes are keeping consumer prices artificially high.

But something like Trump's Tic-Tac stunt won't be allowed at Thursday's debate, because props and pre-written notes are banned, ultimately underscoring how Trump must navigate debate constraints on the form of theatrics that resonate at his voter rallies.

The televised debate can have no audience in person and microphones will probably be muted when a candidate will not be speaking. These restrictions are intended to limit disruption and forestall a repeat of the 2020 debates, when each Biden and Trump struggled to get a word in despite one another's interruptions.

Trump's comments on Saturday give the Biden campaign a high-level taste of the talking points that might come up in Thursday's clash because the two candidates prepare to face off.

“Under Biden, the economy is in shambles,” Trump said on Saturday.

“Trump's incoherent, confused tirade showed voters in his own words that he is a threat to our freedoms and too dangerous to allow anywhere near the White House again,” Biden-Harris 2024 campaign spokeswoman Sarafina Chitika said in an announcement responding to Trump's Saturday speech.

The former president's economic program has to this point focused on tough tariffs on all imports, pressure on the Federal Reserve to lower rates of interest, and lengthening his first-term tax cuts. Economists expect these proposals would reignite inflation if enacted.

On Saturday, Trump also reiterated his proposal to eliminate the tax on tip income and retracted earlier statements about cuts to Social Security.

“As president, I will not cut a single penny from Social Security or Medicare,” Trump said, months after saying in an interview with CNBC's “Squawk Box” that he would consider cutting Social Security.

image credit :