HEMPSTEAD, New York — Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook and other top Democrats refused to answer whether Clinton wants President Barack Obama to withdraw the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) from consideration before Congress during interviews with Breitbart News in the spin room after the first presidential debate here at Hofstra University on Monday night.
The fact that Mook, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Donna Brazile each refused to answer the simple question that would prove Clinton is actually opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership now after praising it 40 times and calling it the “gold standard” is somewhat shocking.
After initially ignoring the question entirely four separate times, Mook finally replied to Breitbart News. But when he did respond, he didn’t answer the question:
BREITBART NEWS: “Robby, does Secretary Clinton believe that the president should withdraw the TPP?”
ROBBY MOOK: “Secretary Clinton, as she said in the debate, evaluated the final TPP language and came to the conclusion that she cannot support it.”
BREITBART NEWS: “Does she think the president should withdraw it?”
ROBBY MOOK: “She has said the president should not support it.”
Obama is attempting to ram TPP through Congress as his last act as president during a lame duck session of Congress. Clinton previously supported the TPP, and called it the “Gold Standard” of trade deals. That’s something Brazile, the new chairwoman of the DNC who took over after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was forced to resign after email leaks showed she and her staff at the DNC undermined the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and in an untoward way forced the nomination into Clinton’s hands, openly confirmed in her own interview with Breitbart News in the spin room post debate. Brazile similarly refused to answer if Clinton should call on Obama to withdraw the TPP from consideration before Congress.
Read Brazile’s full exchange with Breitbart News:
BREITBART NEWS: Secretary Clinton says she’s opposed to the TPP now, I wanted to see do you think she should call on President Obama to withdraw the TPP from Congress?
DONNA BRAZILE: Well, as you know, we had that debate and that conversation during the Democrat platform process. The platform in our party is very, very strong on where we should go on not just the TPP but on trade deals. In terms of President Obama and what he’s going to propose on Capitol Hill during the final months of his presidency, I’m sure he’s going to continue to push for it.
BREITBART NEWS: And how do you reconcile the differences between President Obama’s support for it—
DONNA BRAZILE: Because Hillary Clinton is our nominee for President of the United States.
BREITBART NEWS: And President Obama is the sitting president.
DONNA BRAZILE: But she’s not a member of the United States Senate. I think Mitch McConnell made it very clear he may take this issue up and may not take it up in the so-called lame duck session. So I think for now President Obama has to work with the Democrats on Capitol Hill, which include Bernie Sanders and others who say they will fight against the TPP.
That wasn’t all. Mook and Brazile were hardly the only Clinton sycophants who dodged the question. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon dodged it too in a brief exchange with Breitbart News in the spin room.
Read Fallon dodging the question here:
BREITBART NEWS: On the TPP, Secretary Clinton says she’s opposed to it now. Does she believe that President Obama should withdraw the TPP and not push it through in a lame duck session of Congress?
BRIAN FALLON: She is against the TPP at any point, including in the lame duck, and she has further said—or our campaign has said—that she would not prioritize or push any effort to reopen it or try to tinker around the edges to try to salvage it even if she’s the president in January.
BREITBART NEWS: So does she think that the president should withdraw it since she’s opposed to it in the lame duck anyway?
BRIAN FALLON: I think that she’s been clear in her position that no matter when it comes up, in the lame duck or whenever, she would be against it personally—and she would urge others to defeat it. And she’s certainly not going to bring it up to push it if she’s in office in January.
BREITBART NEWS: Has she had any conversations with the president asking him to withdraw it?
BRIAN FALLON: I’m not aware. I’m not aware of that.
This all came after during Monday evening’s debate, in his response to the opening question on the economy, Trump catapulted trade policy right to the front of the discussion:
Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. And we have a winning fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing.
So we’re losing our good jobs, so many of them. When you look at what’s happening in Mexico, a friend of mine who builds plants said it’s the eighth wonder of the world. They’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world, some of the most sophisticated, some of the best plants. With the United States, as he said, not so much.
So Ford is leaving. You see that, their small car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They’re all leaving. And we can’t allow it to happen anymore. As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do, but perhaps we’ll be talking about that later.
But we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people. All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air conditioning in Indianapolis. They left — fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico. So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this.”
During the debate, Clinton falsely claimed she never called the Pacific Rim trade pact that includes such nations as the Sharia Law-compliant Brunei and the child labor abuser Vietnam among other countries the “gold standard.”
“Now you want to approve Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Trump fired at Clinton during the debate. “You were totally in favor of it. Then you heard what I was saying, how bad it is, and you said, I can’t win that debate. But you know that if you did win, you would approve that, and that will be almost as bad as NAFTA. Nothing will ever top NAFTA.”
Here’s what happened next:
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, that is just not accurate. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out. I wrote about that in…
DONALD TRUMP: You called it the gold standard.
DONALD TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.
HILLARY CLINTON: No.
DONALD TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are — I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated…
DONALD TRUMP: Not.
HILLARY CLINTON: … which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book…
Clinton’s claim that she never called it the gold standard of trade deals is a demonstrable lie. Fact checkers from Breitbart News to the Washington Post and more proved she lied, because she didn’t just hope it would be the gold standard but she said it was the gold standard.
“This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field,” Clinton said of the deal back in 2012 while in Australia, one of the member countries. “And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
In addition to Clinton’s lies on TPP, her decision to finally—for the first time this election cycle—defend the highly controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade deal that her husband signed into law puts her on her heels in middle America.
When Trump told her that “your husband signed NAFTA, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry,” Clinton replied curtly with attitude: “Well, that’s your opinion. That is your opinion.”
When asked to respond to Mook’s dodging of these questions, and to Hillary Clinton’s ambivalence on TPP, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart News in the spin room that Hillary Clinton should call on President Obama to withdraw the TPP—and that he should do so. Sessions said:
Well, President Obama should withdraw it and she should call for it to be withdrawn. President Obama is not going to withdraw it. She was involved in the early drafting of it. She said 40 times favorable comments about it. And for her to suggest that she sort of had anything other than a political conversion is totally false. Hillary Clinton’s view was totally for that treaty until Donald Trump talked to the American people about the flaws in it. It’s impacting, adversely, working people. And then she flip flopped, but she left the door wide open so if she’s president she can make a few cosmetic changes and then move it through the Senate. That’s exactly what’s at stake on that issue.
Sessions added that he thought Clinton’s claims that she opposes TPP—and that she never called it the “gold standard”—“were disingenuous.” Sessions told Breitbart News:
There’s no doubt about it. She helped write that as Secretary of State—she wasn’t there when the final draft was completed and she was saying nothing but fine things about it. At least 40 times, she praised the treaty and did call it the ‘gold standard’ of treaties—but then when the heat got on, she backed off some. But she’s never really backed off the possibility with a few cosmetic changes she could move that treaty forward.
Trump campaign manager KellyAnne Conway, told of Mook’s, Brazile’s, and Fallon’s decision to dodge Breitbart News’s question about the TPP, said in the spin room that it’s time for Hillary Clinton to step forward and answer the TPP questions. Conway said in a brief interview:
It’s really such an excellent question, Matt, I’m glad you asked it. It goes to something Donald Trump said early on in tonight’s debate where he said ‘are you saying that President Obama was wrong? Are you saying he’s wrong?’ And Hillary Clinton just gave a glib smile and didn’t answer the questions, so I hope she answers yours. She once called TPP the ‘gold standard.’ And then has been against it. She has been known to be a flip-flopper, 66 percent of the country says she’s not honest and not trustworthy. They know that she lies for a living on many things. I also—Robby Mook, her campaign manager, refused to answer the question as to whether Hillary Clinton still supports sanctuary cities. He just didn’t answer it. We know that Donald Trump opposes sanctuary cities. It didn’t come up in tonight’s debate, but sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens who then murder Americans is beyond the pale. Donald Trump has stood on the stage with these parents, these angel moms and dads who have lost their children to illegal aliens who had been deported—in the case of Kate Steinle, being murdered in cold blood right in front of her father in San Francisco about two years ago. Kate’s Law would be signed into law if Donald Trump was president.
On NAFTA, Conway added that “it sure has” led to a lot of job loss in America—and that Hillary Clinton’s decision to defend it on Monday night is going to harm her in major states across the country because she again keeps running against American workers. Conway went on to say:
Donald Trump has been very clear about the downsides of NAFTA, how many jobs we’ve lost to NAFTA and how many jobs we lost to China and elsewhere. She wanted to defend NAFTA and she had a very unlike Hillary Clinton moment where she said ‘I think my husband did very well in the 1990s, you shouldn’t mention him at all’ because you’re supposed to pretend he’s not a big part of her campaign or wouldn’t be a part of her administration. NAFTA has been a job killer. And part of Donald Trump being able to become the Republican nominee, winning all those contests—part of him being toe-to-toe with her now in the polls and leading in some places like Colorado and Pennsylvania and Ohio, where they’ve been killed by NAFTA and other trade agreements, that’s because he’s the guy who’s taken it to her and said ‘we can’t have it anymore. I’m for American workers. I’m going to create American jobs and keep them here in the first place.’
Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, told Breitbart News that Clinton’s credibility on trade is next to nothing. Miller told Breitbart News in the spin room:
You can’t believe anything Secretary Clinton says about TPP. We’ve seen everyone from Terry McAuliffe to Bill Clinton come out and essentially make clear that yes, she will be someone who supports TPP. I think you will see Secretary Clinton jump and evade and dodge every opportunity to get pinned down on this issue and the fact of the matter is she called TPP the ‘gold standard.’ This would be another trade deal, maybe not as bad as NAFTA, but another trade deal [that would be bad for the country].
Miller added that the Clinton campaign’s refusal to answer basic questions from the press about TPP is why Donald Trump is surging everywhere across the country.
“There’s a reason why we’re in the third week of September and we have Pennsylvania, Michigan [getting close] as we saw today the Gravis poll showing in Minnesota we’re tied, Mr. Trump is leading in Ohio,” Miller said. “It’s because these jobs are leaving the country. Hillary Clinton and the status quo—and the rigged system in Washington—are doing nothing to keep those here.”
And Robert Graham, the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, told Breitbart News that Clinton can’t come out against NAFTA even though everyone knows how bad it is because it was “her husband’s signature policy.”
“So if she does it, she’s going to seem disingenuous to her husband,” Graham told Breitbart News. “But the reality is exactly what Trump was saying: it’s basically outsourcing America with all of these trade policies that are hurting manufacturing. So these swing states, a lot of them even bluer states, wouldn’t now a little bit tighter to perhaps even being up for Trump if she would stand up against that policy.”
Graham added that Clinton’s refusal to stand up on trade until now—when Donald Trump forced her to flip-flop on TPP to now oppose it—is proof that she is “pathetic.”
“It’s not convenient to be a leader,” Graham said. “The fact that she’s being silent on it, and now she’s going to start leading when she becomes president? You would hope that she would become a leader now, today. I think that’s pathetic.”