AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka praised GOP President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership once and for all on Monday with an executive order officially killing the Pacific Rim trade deal.
Trumka also praised the decision by President Trump to reopen negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal from the 1990s, a deal that saw millions of U.S. jobs leave the country for Mexico and Canada—and the labor union leader praised President Trump’s harsh words for Big Pharma, the pharmaceutical industry, when Trump said of that industry that “they’re politically protected, but not anymore” in an interview with the Washington Post.
Trumka said in his Monday statement:
Last year, a powerful coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, public health and allied groups came together to stop the TPP. Today’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people. While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.”
While labor unions’ politically motivated leaders by and large supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016’s presidential election, it is no surprise that President Trump won over many of the workers throughout the union structure. Trump’s populist appeal to American workers in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio was critical to his landslide electoral college victory, when he stunned the bi-coastal political, financial, and cultural elites in places like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles with a 306 electoral vote landslide win over Clinton on Nov. 8.
The media and political class have struggled to understand the matter since, with many still refusing to make course corrections after their failures. Trump has met with labor leaders and industry leaders, bringing them together on key issues like trade and fighting corruption—building an entirely new political coalition while the Democratic Party debates about how far to the extreme left to veer with a race for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship coming down to two extreme progressives, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, both of whom oppose good trade deals and immigration controls that Trump and his new coalition support.