The likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee urged Republicans in Congress last night to force the US to default on its debts if the Biden administration refused to agree to deep federal spending cuts. It was a reprise of the Tea Party brinkmanship of the early Obama years, dressed up as Trump – who also repeated the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him and called E Jean Carroll, who this week won her defamation lawsuit against him, a “whack job”. The setting was significant – a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, where Trump will face off early next year against any primary challengers brave enough to take him on. The audience consisted of centrists and registered Republicans. When he dismissed the Carroll trial as meaningless, they laughed.