April 22, 2016

Clinton On TPP: No (But Also, Probably?)

Last year, CNN’s Jake Tapper compiled 45 instances of Secretary Clinton speaking favorably about President Obama’s Pacific trade agreement, TPP. However, in an effort to appease the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic Party during this campaign, Clinton has stated she opposes TPP. But today, the AP reports that Clinton’s campaign rhetoric may be just more empty rhetoric:

Clinton’s campaign won’t say whether she would seek to renegotiate it with the 11 other TPP nations that have faced their own political challenges in selling it at home. The agreement has not yet been ratified by Congress.

The AP spoke to several policy advisers who noted that Clinton has few options outside of accepting the deal wholesale. Renegotiation would be “very difficult” according to one of Clinton’s top State Department aides, and an Obama aide outright claimed she would cave, revert to her previous position on TPP and support the trade deal:

Frank Jannuzi, who was on the Obama administration’s transition team for Asia policy in 2008 but is not advising any current presidential candidates, said he expected whoever wins the presidency, Democrat or Republican, to ditch their opposition to the trade deal within the first two years of gaining office.

There’s a recent precedent for a presidential contender changing tack on trade. In his 2008 campaign, Obama opposed a pact with South Korea negotiated by the George W. Bush administration. But he supported it as president, and negotiated some concessions on auto trade that helped the agreement win ratification by Congress in 2011.

Clinton’s primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, is adamantly opposed to TPP and, unlike Clinton, has never spoken in favor of the deal. Many, including Sanders and his aides, have question Clinton’s trustworthiness on issues such as this, and given today’s report, it’s no wonder why.

When Clinton came out against TPP, the hypocrisy was too much for many to take:

PolitiFact: “Hillary Clinton Flip-Flops On Trans-Pacific Partnership”

The Washington Post: “Clinton Says She Now Opposes Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal, Which She Once Touted”

The Washington Post: “Hillary Clinton’s Opposition To TPP Is A Sign Of Just How Worried She Is About Bernie Sanders”

The Associated Press: “Trade Deal, Keystone Open Clinton To Flip-Flop Charges”

Vox: “Hillary Clinton Opposes The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Which She Once Supported”

The New York Times: “Hillary Clinton’s Opportunist Solution!”

Bloomberg View: “Clinton Is Wrong On TPP”

The Washington Post Editorial: “Ms. Clinton’s Disappointing Choice On The Trans-Pacific Partnership”

Financial Times Editorial: “Hillary Clinton, The TPP And The Trust Problem”