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January 23, 2017 12:18 PM UTC

Trump Takes First Step in Dumping TPP; Sen. Gardner Left Hanging

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Sen. Cory Gardner isn’t saying much of anything about TPP since Donald Trump was elected.

President Donald Trump signed a couple of executive orders this morning aimed at backing up some of his campaign rhetoric, including the first step in withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As the New York Times reports:

President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.

Mr. Trump sharply criticized the partnership agreement during last year’s campaign, calling it a bad deal for American workers. Although the deal had not been approved by Congress, the decision to withdraw the American signature at the start of Mr. Trump’s administration is a signal that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors…

…The president’s withdrawal from the Asian-Pacific trade pact amounted to a drastic reversal of decades of economic policy in which presidents of both parties have lowered trade barriers and expanded ties around the world. Although candidates have often criticized trade deals on the campaign trail, those who made it to the White House, including President Barack Obama, ended up extending their reach.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Mr. Trump said as he signed a document formalizing his decision. The withdrawal from the trade pact, he added, is a “great thing for the American worker.”

Trump may not be “down with TPP,” but this move puts Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in a difficult position. Gardner, of course, has long been an outspoken supporter of the controversial trade deal. In an address to the Forum for Global Leadership in Denver, Colorado in July 2015 (video below), Gardner called the TPP “perhaps one of the most important achievements of this Congress” and was effusive in praising its merits:

“One of the best opportunities we have in a generation is the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Since the election of Donald Trump as President, however, Gardner has largely avoided the issue of TPP in favor of general blustery statements about the importance of international trade in general. Here’s Gardner speaking with National Public Radio (NPR) last week:

It is extremely important that the United States lead on matters of trade. We want a world trade opportunity that looks like it’s based on U.S. norms and the values that we hold, in terms of free markets and economic value. So it is important that we continue to advance trade alliances and opportunities to enter into trade agreements.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has had a mixed history with TPP, but said in October that he opposed the deal in its current form. Bennet’s role here is much less significant than that of Gardner, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy (under the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). Gardner is in a leadership position in the Republican Senate, with a specific focus on trade with Asia, and he is working under a newly-inaugurated President of the same political party who made it one of his priorities to ditch TPP on his first full workday in the Oval Office.

Gardner’s opinion here is more than relevant, but speaking out against Trump won’t help him get off the President’s naughty list, so Gardner will do little more than wave as TPP slinks away.

Comments

3 thoughts on “Trump Takes First Step in Dumping TPP; Sen. Gardner Left Hanging

  1. His BFF Rubio would have made his job easy.  Cory has a pretty sh1tty committee job right now.   I am sure Trump knows it and likes rubbing it in.  Blech.

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