Gov. Kasich Visits Obama at White House for TPP Push Meeting

Kasich, Obama AP

He lost badly in the Republican presidential primary election to now-nominee Donald Trump, refused to attend the Republican National convention in the state where he is governor, and now John Kasich is visiting President Barack Obama in the White House to help Obama pass the highly controversial trade agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“We now have a unique opportunity, again to put country in front of politics,” Kasich said during a White House press briefing along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed who also attended the meeting. “The two nations that most vociferously oppose this agreement are China…” he continued, also mentioning Vladimir Putin.

“Are there losers in trade? Yes there are. And that’s why it’s important that we have a system that can retrain people for the jobs of the future,” said Kasich, who formerly voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement. In the White House press conference Kasich focused on implications of “if you don’t trade,” over the details of the proposed and secretive trade agreement. Kasich’s comments suggested that the option was TPP or no trade at all.

“I appreciate the President inviting the group that we had in there this morning,” Kasich said of Obama as the Ohio governor advocated for the President’s trade deal. “He’s very passionate that we need to do this.”

The Oval office meeting included not only Kasich and Obama, but “former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and others,” according to CNN.

“This TPP will help us not only on the economic side, but will also allow us to continue to be a strong world leader for good,” said Kasich as he pressed members of Congress to pass TPP.

During a March primary election campaign rally at the Cleveland I-X Center, Trump said of Kasich, “He’s now in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is a disaster. It is going to ruin your car industry.” Trump also went after Kasich for the former congressman’s support of NAFTA. “Your steel industry is going to hell,” said Trump. “We’re bringing it all back.”

The Economic Policy Institute, a think tank whose board includes several union leaders, stated in December 2013 that NAFTA cost some 700,000 American jobs and the few jobs gained “are small in relation to the loses, and are in lower paying occupations.” The Institute noted the “vast majority of workers who lost jobs from NAFTA suffered a permanent loss of income.”

“NAFTA has destroyed New England. … You’ve never recovered completely from it, but you will if I’m elected because I’m bringing those businesses back,” Trump said in March, according to the Hill.

Kasich has declined to endorse Trump. In July he was the speaker for a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event held in Cleveland, just a short distance from where the Republican National Convention was happening. Though he was within a couple of miles of the massive nominating convention, the governor of the state where it was being held declined to attend.

“Mark my words TPP will pass, it will pass,” Kasich told those gathered for the USHCOC event. As he did at the Friday White House press conference, Kasich went on to say at the July chamber event that he is not a big free trade guy. He then said at the chamber event, “These are Asian nations that are really important to us, it’s not only a matter of economics and trade, it’s also about geopolitics too.”

During Friday’s White House press conference Kasich said of passing TPP that it is “a unique opportunity again to put country ahead of politics.”

The USCOC event host said at the July event in Cleveland, “We believe TPP is good for America. Donald Trump does not agree with us.” Kasich noted in response to a longer question from the host about the Republican presidential nominee, adding, “Hillary was for it before and now against it.” The USCOC has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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