Former Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell says that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is right on trade — and has been for years.
“All that Donald Trump says isn’t wrong… He’s right about China,” Rendell, a Clinton supporter, said in an interview on SiriusXM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show. “We have, for some reason, not stood up to China. We’ve allowed them to manipulate their currency, which gives their businesses tremendous advantage in selling to America. They came in here and tried to dump low-priced, subsidized steel pipe to get rid of the steel pipe industry in the U.S.”
“So, there are some things that Donald Trump talks about that do have a germ of reason or a germ of truth,” the former Democratic governor of the important battleground state said.
Rendell said that he has agreed with Trump’s position on trade for years. During the interview, Rendell said that he quoted Donald Trump in his 2012 book, A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.
“The interesting thing is, I talk about China and the fact that China took advantage of us in trade, and cost Pennsylvania some significant jobs, and I quoted Donald Trump in the book,” Rendell said.
Last month, Donald Trump delivered a speech in Pennsylvania in which he addressed how our nation’s trade policies have devastated American communities– especially working communities in Pennsylvania.
The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape. But our workers’ loyalty was repaid with betrayal. Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization – moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas. Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache. When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing. For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment. Many of these areas have still never recovered. Our politicians took away from the people their means of making a living and supporting their families… Many Pennsylvania towns once thriving and humming are now in a state despair. This wave of globalization has wiped out our middle class. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn it all around – and we can turn it around fast.
In stark contrast to Trump’s views on the issue, Hillary Clinton has been one of the most vocal proponents of globalist trade policies.
Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA, the WTO, and China’s entrance into the WTO.
Moreover, as Bloomberg reported in 2013, Clinton took on a “leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” CNN has reported that Clinton is on the record as having praised or promoted the TPP at least 45 times.
Pennsylvania lost 36% of all of its manufacturing jobs since the Hillary Clinton-backed NAFTA was ratified.
Between 2001 (the year China entered the WTO) and 2013, the growing U.S. goods trade deficit with China cost Pennsylvania 122,600 jobs.
In 2015 alone, Pennsylvania suffered a net loss of nearly 70,000 jobs due to the U.S. trade deficit with TPP countries, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Bernie Sanders has repeatedly attacked Clinton for her position on trade, and has accused her of voting “for virtually every trade agreement that has cost the workers of this country millions of jobs.”
Despite Sanders’ electoral successes throughout the Democratic primary, the Democratic Platform Committee — dominated by Hillary Clinton supporters — voted down amendments put forward by “Sanders loyalists … that would have written into the [official convention] platform specific language rejecting [the TPP],” the Wall Street Journal reports.
By contrast, the Republican Platform Committee’s plan “embraces presumptive nominee Trump’s skeptical view of foreign trade agreements, calling for a slowdown in any new multinational deals and eliminating the party’s once-enthusiastic support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Politico writes.
Indeed, earlier this week following Sanders’ decision to endorse Clinton, Trump made an open appeal to working-class Democrats, whom Sanders had “abandoned” by endorsing “pro-TPP” Hillary Clinton.
“Bernie Sanders has abandoned his supporters by endorsing pro-war pro-TPP pro-Wall Street Crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump tweeted. “Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.”
“To all the Bernie voters who want to stop bad trade deals & global special interests, we welcome you with open arms. People first,” Trump added.
Interestingly, however, House Speaker Paul Ryan has made statements that seem to directly undercut this potentially-winning economic message for the Republican Party.
In a Tuesday CNN town hall interview with Jake Tapper, Ryan claimed that Clinton holds an identical position on trade to Bernie Sanders. Ryan did not offer any evidence to back up this assertion, nor did Tapper press Ryan on the fact that his assertion runs contrary to Clinton’s long history of publicly supporting globalist trade policies.
When Tapper asked Ryan if he has “more common ground” on issues like trade and foreign policy with Clinton than he does with Trump, Ryan said, “No, no… she sounds like Bernie Sanders on trade. She basically says the same thing he does.”
It’s perhaps surprising that the Republican House Speaker would seem to so directly contradict the messaging strategy of his party and its presumptive nominee.
In recent weeks, Ryan has come under attack for making statements which seem designed to undermine the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential aspirations.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity has said that he is “sick” of Ryan’s “open effort… to sabotage” Donald Trump. “Maybe it’s time to get a new Speaker,” Hannity said.
Fox News’ Lou Dobbs similarly excoriated Ryan for his efforts to undermine his party’s chances of electoral success in 2016. “[Ryan’s agenda] is not that of the Party, it’s his own agenda,” Dobbs said.
Ryan has spent more of his breath slamming the Republican nominee– the one chosen by a record number of Republican voters– and all the while Ryan is pushing his own absurdly irrelevant agenda instead of working to actually unify the Party behind Trump and Trump’s agenda, that’s shared by millions and millions of voters. Ryan is proving himself to be nothing more than an eager tool of the establishment or their big donors like Paul Singer and Charles Koch or the most powerful lobby in D.C., the Chamber of Commerce.