In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton didn’t call the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “gold standard” of trade deals. I mean, she said it, but it was within the context of hoping that it would become that or something, according to the Clinton campaign. The video clip that Wolf Blitzer played for Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon was pretty explicit that "hope" wasn’t an aspect being considered in her 2012 speech about the trade agreement in Australia. Yet, they have to spin something about this, as TPP is deeply unpopular with Democrats and their union supporters. It could be a magnet that Trump can use to siphon off support from disaffected Democrats, especially union members.
While the leadership of our nation’s largest unions might be all in for Clinton, their members are giving Trump a fair hearing—and some feared that defections could occur this November. To mitigate this possibility, Clinton needs to do everything she can to provide a buffer between herself and TPP, though with her dismal trustworthy numbers—it’s dubious to say whether this will work or not. Clinton was hoping TPP would be the “gold standard”…that’s just a lie, folks. Clinton’s shift on trade was accelerated during the 2016 primaries when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shifted her to the left on this issue. In fact, TPP is just one hurdle for her to overcome. NAFTA is another trade agreement signed under the presidency of Bill Clinton that’s loathed by America’s unions. Trump hammered Clinton heavily over trade, saying she’s been in public life for three decades and didn’t do anything to stop the flow of American jobs leaving the country. Love him or hate him, Trump resonates in the Rust Belt.
CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “He did bring up the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, trade deal. Here’s the exchange he had. Listen to this.”
TRUMP: “You called it the gold standard. You called it the gold standard of trade deals, you said it’s the finest trade deal you’ve ever seen. And then you heard what I said about it, and all of the sudden you were against it.”
CLINTON: “Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts.”
BLITZER: “Alright so we did a reality check, and we found this statement she made back in 2012, when she was secretary of state, in Australia, she made this statement.”
CLINTON: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.”
BLITZER: “Alright so she’s flipped on that issue right?”
CLINTON CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY BRIAN FALLON: “No, I think what happened, Wolf, was that at the time she made those comments that you just played that deal was still being worked on and she was expressing her hope that the deal would live up to being the gold standard…”
BLIZTER: “You didn’t see ‘hope’ in that statement. She said, ‘this TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open, free, transparent, fair trade.’”
FALLON: “I think what happened was the deal was finalized in the years after she left as secretary of state, and she was pretty clear, even prior to the finalization of that agreement, what her metrics would be for judging it. And then it came out, and the details were scrutinized over, and it came up short on every count that she had listed months in advance, including making sure that we have good paying jobs here in the United States, she just fundamentally thinks it fails that test. Now this was an issue that was heavily litigated in the primary, so I don’t think it’s a surprise at all where she stands on the issue of trade to voters in this general election contest.”