There was a flurry of panic from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when Politico – and, later, The New York Times – reported that President Trump was on the verge of pulling the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement via executive order. In their original story, Politico quoted several Republicans – most of whom have been consistent in their criticism of Trump – who said that a full withdrawal would be a disastrous mistake.
“I think we’d better be careful about unintended consequences,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. “It’s inconsistent with what Wilbur Ross had told me previously about their intention, which was to update NAFTA, not to withdraw from it.”
Sen. John McCain, who always manages to find a microphone when the liberal media comes looking for, um, bipartisan criticisms of the president, said, “I’d be glad to have renegotiation of some of the terms of [NAFTA], because a lot of time has passed.” But, McCain said, withdrawing from the trade pact would “be disgraceful and a disaster.”
McCain’s bestest buddy, Lindsey Graham, echoed those sentiments. “Trying to negotiate NAFTA makes sense,” he said, “but withdrawing from it doesn’t.”
Well…as Trump said many times on the campaign trail, you can’t get Canada and Mexico to the negotiating table if you aren’t willing to pull out of the deal altogether. Why would they willingly give up their economic advantages if the U.S. said, “Well, if you don’t wanna, there’s really nothing we can do about it…”?
Remarkably, President Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau placed emergency calls to President Trump almost immediately after the news broke. Funny how that works…
“I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I agreed subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good — deal very possible!”
In an official statement, Trump said, “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
You won’t be surprised, of course, to see the media portraying this as another Trump Blunder. Oh, he went and stepped in it this time, and Nieto and Trudeau had to yank him back into reality.
Nonsense. This is what hardball negotiations are all about, and this is what separates Trump from the rest of the do-nothing politicians in Washington. If Trump is able to secure U.S. workers a better deal through NAFTA, he will only be able to do so BECAUSE he is willing and ready to scrap the deal completely.
Any third grader could understand these tactics, but apparently the logic still eludes the power elite in D.C.