As the debt ceiling deadline approaches, and fears grow that this might be the time that congressional Republicans push the nation over the default cliff, President Joe Biden routinely tries to remind the American public about the significance of the danger. The Democrat published a tweet on the subject on Saturday morning.
“Default would erase millions of jobs, trigger a recession, hit retirement accounts, and increase borrowing costs,” Biden wrote. “It’s not an option.”
This didn’t seem especially controversial. In fact, every word of the message was true.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was nevertheless unimpressed, publishing this tweet on Saturday, which read in part:
“You did all of that during your Communist COVID shutdowns. Don’t do it again to the American people Joe.”
In other words, as the Georgia Republican sees it, Covid lockdowns created the same conditions in 2020 that the president is warning about now: erasing millions of jobs, triggering a recession, etc.
For now, let’s put aside Greene’s curious confusion about what “communist” means and instead focus on the more important problem with her argument: There were Covid lockdowns in 2020, but, at the time, Biden was a private citizen with no official powers or authority. When the right-wing congresswoman complains about the effects of Covid “shutdowns,” and attributes the policies to Biden, she’s apparently forgetting who was actually in office at the time — which is odd, given that 2020 really wasn’t that long ago.
But what’s especially interesting to me is just how often Republicans make this mistake.
Circling back to our earlier coverage, it was a few months ago, for example, Greene blamed Biden administration’s policies for a Michigan woman whose sons died in 2020 — when, again, Biden was a private citizen.
It’s not just Greene. Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, for example, recently blamed Biden for “paying people to stay home” in 2020, referring to a law that Donald Trump signed the year before Biden took office.
The same week, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado blamed the Democratic president for Covid-related school closures in 2020 — which, again, was a year that Biden spent campaigning, not in the Oval Office.
It also wasn’t too long ago when former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also pointed to crime data from 2020 to blame Biden for the U.S. murder rate, apparently unaware that it was her former boss who was president at the time.
If this dynamic sounds at all familiar, we’ve seen a similar problem before. As regular readers might recall, in 2015, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas suggested Barack Obama was to blame for the economic crash of 2008, which began several months before the Democrat was elected president.
Two years earlier, a poll found that nearly a third of Louisiana Republicans blamed Obama for the dreadful federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, in reality, Katrina made landfall in August 2005, and Obama was inaugurated in January 2009.
Now, it seems much of the GOP has become calendar-challenged once again.
This post revises our related earlier coverage.