Trump Likens Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal to Rape
Donald Trump continued blasting the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, likening it in an evening speech to “rape.”
“It's a rape of our country. It's a harsh word, but that's what it is -- rape of our country,” Trump said at an evening rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
Earlier in the day, in a trade speech at a Pennsylvania scrap facility, Trump called on the U.S. to follow the political wave that began with the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.
“Our friends in Britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics and borders,” Trump said. “Now it's time for the American people to take back their future. We are going to take it back.”
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee sounded more like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran against Hillary Clinton and global trade deals in the Democratic primary, when assessing whether free trade should continue to be a priority.
Calling NAFTA “the worst trade deal in the history of the country” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership “the greatest danger yet,” Trump said he planned to re-negotiate trade deals in order to create jobs across the country and especially in places that formerly produced goods sold in the U.S. and abroad.
“It's time to declare our economic independence once again,” Trump said. “That means voting for Donald Trump.”
Trump also blasted China, and signaled that he was prepared to confront the world's most populous nation.
“I am going to instruct my Treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply,” Trump said.
China has been a favorite Trump target, and in May, the billionaire invoked the rape metaphor when speaking about the country.
“We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing,” Trump said at a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Making the Case
At Alumisource, a company in Monessen, Pennsylvania, Trump cited statistics, statements from the founding fathers on trade, and specific clauses in pacts.
“If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal,” he said.
Meanwhile, his campaign distributed detailed critiques of Clinton's record on trade and also a copy of the speech with dozens of footnotes linking to reports from mainstream news organizations and think tanks.
Trump also echoed Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who fiercely attacked him this week, in attacking what's known as the investor-state dispute-settlement procedure.
“The TPP creates a new international commission that makes decisions the American people can't veto,” he said. “These commissions are great for Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street funders who can spend vast amounts of money to influence the outcomes.”
When the Obama administration was seeking fast-track authority for the deal through Congress, Warren and other Congressional Democrats—including Sanders—vehemently opposed the ISDS boards.
In a conference call with reporters in March 2015, Warren called the boards “a powerful provision that would tilt the playing field for multinational corporations.”
‘Rigged’ Trade System
Reversing the Republican embrace of free trade that has helped define the party for decades, Trump took aim at two deals tied to Democratic administrations.
“I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified,” Trump said, according to his prepared remarks.
Existing trade agreements would also face an uncertain future, Trump asserted.
“I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better,” Trump said in his prepared remarks. “If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.”
“The people who rigged the system for their benefit will do anything—and say anything—to keep things exactly as they are,” Trump added. “The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge nothing is going to change.”
Repeatedly, Trump linked the future of the U.S. to that of Britain's decision to leave the European Union, a comparison that is also reflected in his support. Older, working-class whites whose economic prospects have diminished in an era of globalization swung the recent British vote and helped fuel Trump's rise to the nomination.
“They're frighteningly close,” said Mary Nugent, a doctoral candidate who teaches U.K. politics at Rutgers University.
President Barack Obama also made the connection between's Trump's rhetoric and the vote in the Britain.
“There’s a xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment that’s flashing up not just in Great Britain but throughout Europe that has some parallels with what Mr. Trump has been trying to stir up here,” Obama said in an interview published Tuesday by NPR, before adding, “He’s hardly a legitimate spokesperson for a populist surge from working-class people on either side of the Atlantic.”