In his first full workday as President of the United States, Donald Trump didn’t waste any time in implementing his ambitious trade and manufacturing agenda.
He signed an executive order pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-member free-trade agreement advocated by the Obama administration. TPP aimed to deepen economic ties between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, cut taxes and foster trade to, hopefully, boost economic growth in the process.
Trump’s action makes the deal — at least with the U.S. involved — essentially over. It’s really been essentially dead since last summer when Trump’s republican party began to tack more populist — which it has been doing since Trump started winning primaries by appealing to working class voters — and the GOP abandoning its traditional belief in free trade doomed the partnership which never really enjoyed that much support among democrats beyond former President Barack Obama and his administration. Senator Bernie Sanders (I.- Vt.), who is in the democratic leadership despite not identifying as one, was a particularly vocal critic of TPP during his run for the democratic nomination last year.
Trump shows no signs of warming up to free trade deals and now leads a political party that looks like it’s following in lock step behind him (with some notable exceptions, of course). Trump took another step that flies in the face of traditional republican orthodoxy and met with building trades and manufacturing unions on his first working day. Watch the leaders applaud Trump as he describes “terminating” TPP. (more…)