Senior Donald Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday evening on Breitbart News Sunday that Trump’s “closing pitch” in Wisconsin is focused on stopping Obamatrade from hollowing out the state’s middle class even further, and exposing chief Trump rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the issue.
“That’s everything. That’s what Donald Trump has said in his closing pitch here in Wisconsin,” Miller said on the show, which airs on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel.
He has said that Ted Cruz has voted for Obamatrade before, and if you make him president he will force it down your throats and you’ll lose your middle class in Wisconsin. There’s no doubt that’s true—and I’ve talked about this before, but it’s because of Ted Cruz’s advocacy that Obamatrade passed in the first place. We only needed to flip one more vote in the Senate. If Ted Cruz had been fighting with Jeff Sessions for three months instead of against him, there’s no doubt in mind that Obamatrade would never have passed and we all would be safe from it.
Before joining Trump’s campaign, Miller was a senior adviser in the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—the chief Republican opponent of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) portion of Obamatrade.
Cruz originally backed TPA—very publicly, in interviews, op-eds and in the U.S. Senate—voting for it the first time it came up last year. After a significant amount of public pressure, and after the U.S. House passed a modified version of the legislation sending it back to the U.S. Senate along with a subsidy program Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) attached, Cruz voted against TPA on the second go-around.
TPA is fast-track authority that greases the skids for the Congressional approval of executive-branch-negotiated trade deals by lowering the vote threshold in the U.S. Senate down to just 51 votes for approval and eliminating the ability of Congress to pass amendments to the deals.
It is expected that TPA will be used to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) through Congress easily, therefore as Sessions noted at the time TPA came up, a vote for TPA was essentially a vote for TPP and the other deals.
“As president, there’s no doubt Ted Cruz, to the core of his being, to the marrow of his bones, would be a demagogic ideological globalist on the subject of trade. He has been his whole career,” Miller said on Sunday evening, echoing Trump’s similar comments in a recent interview with Breitbart News late last week.
You can back and listen to interviews he did in 2011 where he said he opposed cracking down on Chinese currency [manipulation] because again he said it would pass the costs onto consumers. What he means is he is for trade cheating because he thinks it makes goods cheaper. Oh, great. ‘Dump products at a loss. It’ll save money.’ Look at what it’s done to Wisconsin. When China cheats, when Japan cheats, when any of these countries cheat, and they point their finger at an industry and they target it for expansion, if you don’t respond to that cheating by enforcing trade rules like you would in any other contract, the industry is extinguished, the jobs disappear, the town crumbles, the buildings just collect rust and then the working class dies.
Miller said that this all has very specific application to the voters of Wisconsin, who are being impacted—and will be even more so soon—by these poorly negotiated international trade deals.
“Wisconsin has been known historically as the machine shop of the world,” Miller told Breitbart News Sunday.
It’s middle class, more than any other middle class in the country, has been dependent upon U.S. manufacturing. Those jobs have been going away in droves. We’ve lost in Wisconsin 20 percent of our manufacturing jobs since 2000. What that means is that wages go down because in manufacturing there’s less wages. The middle class of Wisconsin has shrunk more than any other state—14 percent decline in median household income—as again, you pointed out, jobs going overseas from the Oscar Mayer factory, from General Electric, General Motors, and many others, Chrysler, it’s just killing the middle class here in Wisconsin, which has shrunk more than any other state.
Miller noted that Cruz’s previous statements that he would not tariff China in any way threatens the livelihood of already struggling Wisconsin workers.
“And so Ted Cruz has said, and this is so important, that he will not put any tariff on China—and I need to explain very quickly because we don’t have a lot of time what that means,” Miller said.
That means if China cheats and violates the rules of the World Trade Organization and manipulates their currency, subsidizes their products unfairly or dumps goods at a loss for the sole purpose of destroying an American business, that he will surrender to it completely. Ronald Reagan saved Harley Davidson in Wisconsin by putting a 45 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Ronald Reagan saved the semiconductor industry by putting a 100 percent tariff on semiconductors. Every time Cruz invokes Reagan’s name, he is apparently unaware that Reagan put tariffs on foreign countries to save jobs—a policy Ted Cruz repudiates—therefore Ted Cruz is signaling to all the people of Wisconsin that if China says ‘hey I like your factory, I want it in China, we’re going to dump goods, we’re going to put your community out of business,’ Ted Cruz is saying ‘nothing I can do.’ Because what did Ted Cruz say? ‘We can’t pass the costs onto consumers.’ Whatever China does, whatever Japan does, and whatever Vietnam does to cheat, Ted Cruz is saying ‘cheating is great because it makes products cheaper.’ Well, guess what? You don’t even have a middle class left anymore because there’s nowhere to work so when you’re not earning any money and you’re not getting paid any wages cheap goods aren’t cheap because you don’t have a job so you can’t afford them.
Miller also said that he doesn’t believe a new ad by Cruz making a pitch that he’s for “fair trade” that doesn’t hurt Wisconsin workers is believable.
“It is a desperate ploy by Ted Cruz because he knows not only does he need to win Wisconsin to have a reason to even exist as a campaign which he already doesn’t really have because he knows he can’t get to 1,237 [delegates, the majority number needed at the Republican National Convention to win the nomination on the first ballot], but he knows Pennsylvania is coming up and New York is coming up—all states crushed by manufacturing [losses],” Miller said.
So he’s using a word that polls well, while what he wants to do is 180 degrees opposite and it has been his whole career. So it’s an [Rep.] Eric Cantor move like when Eric Cantor ran an anti-amnesty ad and Dave Brat beat him while Eric Cantor was leading the push for amnesty. So it’s a classic Eric Cantor move and again, make no mistake, Ted Cruz has no path to 1,237.
Wisconsin GOP voters head to the polls on Tuesday to select their choice in the presidential primary. Polls in Wisconsin have shown Cruz with an edge, but Trump and his team haven’t given up–and are fighting hard–in the Badger State as Cruz’s team has called for reinforcements ahead of Tuesday’s critical contest.