Trump hates NAFTA. Or at least he did. That is until a little research was done. Now that he has been elected, and the rage he roused within the working class about job losses due to the agreement is being met with reality, Trump is changing his tune.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly slammed that NAFTA “destroyed our country,” “was the worst trade deal the U.S. has ever signed,” which “continues to kill American jobs.”
In September, Trump promised he would “entirely renegotiate NAFTA” or “terminate it,” but one of his transition team’s senior advisers, Anthony Scaramucci, just informed a group of concerned businessmen at a No Labels bipartisan meeting that he was not going to scrap it.
Calling Trump a “free-trader,” Scaramucci told the group:
“I don’t think we’re looking to rip up NAFTA as much as we are looking to right-size it and make it fairer. He’s got a great relationship, by the way, with the Mexican president. They talk regularly.”
Given Trump’s other promise about building a wall along the Mexico-US border and getting Mexico to pay for it, his relationship with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is up for debate.
Scaramucci said his “homework” on Trump’s team is to “study the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),” something that should have done before Trump blasted it throughout the campaign.
NAFTA, which stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, lowers trade restrictions the US has with Canada and Mexico, and vice versa. One of its purposes was to increase jobs for all countries. It was signed in December 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. The agreement was supported by Democrats as well as Republicans.
Now that his schoolwork is complete, he has shared his findings with Trump and now the impending administration is changing its plan.
“I don’t think anybody in the administration from the top to the bottom is looking for protectionism. We understand the economic harm and the impact that would take. I don’t think anybody in the administration is looking for quote-unquote tariffs, but I think they are a cudgel if you will to lay out there if we can’t get the trade deals to be right-sided to now benefit the American people.”
In true Trump team style, Scaramucci blamed the media for any misunderstandings about Trump’s stance on trade as protectionist or isolationist.
“Things get snippeted a certain way in the media and they get framed a certain way that he’s a protectionist and he’s against trade. I can state categorically that if he were standing here right now he’d tell you that he’s a free trader.”
Scaramucci added that people “just need to understand the dynamic of these deals and where they put the American worker today.”
Perhaps, Trump is the one who needs to understand international deals, he is gonna, you know, be president after all.
Trump’s learning curve must be overwhelmingly steep right now. I’m sure his supporters are starting to hope he falls off the edge soon.
Featured image via Ty Wright/Getty Images