GOP frontrunner Donald Trump lambasted the permanent political class for supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News ahead of the next debate.
“The deal is insanity,” he said. “That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen.”
The 5,544-page deal is far too long to be understood, said Trump. “Nobody understands it,” he said. The “Obamatrade” deal is longer than Obamacare plus the 2013 amnesty bill, authored by 2016 candidate Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“The deal is so bad because of the fact they don’t cover currency manipulation,” Trump added. “It’s the number-one weapon used by foreign countries to hurt the United States and take away jobs.”
He also hit the deal as a giveaway to China. “We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China,” he said. “China will take advantage of it—all the weak points in it, more than anybody else,” said Trump, who has previously criticized China’s manipulation of currency prices. China is not part of the TPP deal, but is widely expected to join in the next few years.
Rubio, Trump’s chief rival from the Washington establishment, has publicly backed the TPP deal multiple times throughout the year—in the Wall Street Journal and in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, where he called it a “pillar” of his desired presidency.
But now Rubio’s team says he’s undecided about the unpopular deal.
However, Rubio also provided the critical 60th vote for Obamatrade’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which greases the skids for an congressional approval of the trade deal. TPA makes it impossible to amend the deal–or any other trade deal brought before Congress–and eliminates the ability for a Senate filibuster, essentially sealing final passage of TPP before the deal’s text even became public last week.
Questions have arisen about whether Rubio read the text of the TPP deal–which was available in the basement of the U.S. Capitol for lawmakers to read in person –before he voted for the TPA which would fast-track it. Rubio’s team refuses to answer which days he supposedly spent in the classified reading room reading the text. It would have required multiple days in the room to read the deal before he voted on it.
During the interview, Trump asked how many pages are in the deal. When told by this reporter that the deal is 5,544 pages long, Trump responded by saying “Wow.”
He said that he thinks the only reason why politicians like Rubio are backing the TPP deal is because they are “controlled” by Washington lobbyists.
“The only people that are supporting it politically are people that are controlled by the lobbyists for certain companies that want this to happen because it’s to their advantage, not to the country’s advantage. So the lobbyists and the special interests are supporting it, and certain politicians are supporting it because they’re totally controlled by the lobbyists and the special interests.”
Trump said he is not controlled by the lobbyists. “People are so happy that I’m putting up my own money,” Trump told Breitbart News. “People are so happy that I’m self-funding.”
If he’s elected president, Trump told Breitbart News that he would negotiate trade deals with individual countries, rather than giant multinational deals like TPP. He would also stop currency manipulation, he said.
“I would make individual deals with individual countries and currency manipulation would be a preeminent part of every deal because that’s the chief weapon that other countries—particularly China and Japan—use to take away our businesses and our jobs,” Trump said.