MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough repeatedly pushed back against claims that President Joe Biden is to blame for inflation during an exchange with economic analyst Steven Rattner on Thursday’s “Morning Joe.”
Scarborough called Republicans’ claims that Biden bears responsibility for inflation “a lie,” arguing that Republicans supported big spending outside of COVID relief legislation.
“If I’m a Republican candidate and I’m campaigning and I say, ‘Ok Steve, I want to tell the truth on the campaign trail unlike all my other Republican brothers and sisters.’ What can I blame Biden for as it relates to inflation? … Do you point to the COVID relief bill? Because before that everything was bipartisan.”
Rattner pointed to large spending in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan which he said that “put a little gasoline” on rising prices, then added the president wanted to spend another $6.5 trillion.
“Yeah, but he didn’t know,” Scarborough interjected. “So when Republicans start talking — no, no, but when I’m asking what is he responsible for, his words didn’t fuel inflation, so that $1.9 trillion bill. Now I’m going to be a lawyer. Alright, so look at COVID, look at the $2 trillion on the sidelines, look at the war, look at the increased energy prices, look at the supply chain chaos and then look at this $1.9 trillion bill. What percentage would you really say that $1.9 trillion bill is responsible?”
Rattner said the American Rescue Plan contributed only a small percentage to inflation, but said the Federal Reserve increasingly spent too much money during the pandemic. (RELATED: ‘Democrats Don’t Understand’: Scarborough Tears Into Schumer)
“That’s not Biden’s fault,” Scarborough interrupted.
“It’s not Biden’s fault, except the Chairman of the Federal Reserve [Jerome] Powell wanted to get reappointed, which he has gotten reappointed and therefore one could possibly imagine [he] wanted to make the White House happy,” Rattner said.
“So when you hear people on the campaign trail blaming others for inflation, so much of this is out of the hands of Biden,” Scarborough said. “We’re not talking about the politics of it, we’re just talking about the truth of it. We’re trying to get to the truth here.”
Rattner also argued that claims of big spending being necessary during the pandemic is “not a strong argument.”
Their discussion came after a Department of Labor report found that inflation surged 8.3% year-over-year in April. Reports also found that gas prices soared to a new record of $4.37 per gallon on Tuesday, while the average cost of diesel rose to $5.56 per gallon.