The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a vital piece of Obama’s legacy. However, to the president’s dismay, not a single Democratic candidate seems to support the controversial deal. Even Hillary Clinton, who heavily promoted the agreement during her time as Secretary of State, opposes the deal.
But why would Hillary turn her back on Obama at a time like this? Think about it: what has the trade deal managed to do? It has enraged labor unions, environmentalists, and other voters whose support is key in the Democratic primary.
Seems Hillary has turned out to be a fair-weather friend. The statement she released on Wednesday makes it clear that she does not support the very deal she helped negotiate back in 2012: “I’m continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership … based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement.” The Democratic frontrunner highlighted the fact that any trade deal must create “good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not fulfilling those requirements.
“Even a strong deal can fall short on delivering the promised benefits,” said Hillary. Perhaps not to upset her BFF Obama, she added, “I appreciate the hard work that President Obama and his team put into this process and recognize the strides they made. But the bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don’t believe this agreement has met it.”
The very day before Hillary expressed her new views regarding the TPP, one of her top aides spoke on NPR about her support of the deal. Anne-Marie Slaughter, top Clinton aide and former director of State Department policy planning, explained to a reporter on Tuesday that Hillary “laid the groundwork for a lot of what now, frankly, John Kerry is harvesting. She went on to say that without Clinton, “you wouldn’t have an Iran deal.”
Slaughter continued: “People may not like the trade agreement with Asia, but her point was we have to focus on re-strengthening our alliances with Japan, with the Philippines, with Thailand, with Southeast Asian countries. And we have to engage China, but we also have to tough with China and that was a lot of Hillary Clinton’s work.”
You know what’s even funnier than this lack of communication within her own team? The fact that she blamed Republicans for her change of opinion: “Years of Republican obstruction at home have weakened U.S. competitiveness and made it harder for Americans who lose jobs and pay because of trade to get back on their feet,” said Hillary. “Republicans have blocked the investments that we need and that President Obama has proposed in infrastructure, education, clean energy, and innovation. They’ve refused to raise the minimum wage or defend workers’ rights or adequately fund job training.”