Washington Examiner — Democratic lawmakers and liberal groups have called for decades for the North American Free Trade Agreement to be dropped or at least renegotiated, but when the Trump administration formally announced Thursday that it was opening talks with the Mexico and Canada, many reacted with pointed criticism of the White House.
The response highlights an awkward political situation for trade critics: Many want NAFTA scrapped but don’t want Trump to get any credit for doing it.
The trade critics said that Trump, long before any negotiations have begun, has given every indication that he would sell out to international business. “The president’s vague NAFTA letter is a stark contrast with the aggressive promises he made to hard-working families during the campaign. For all his rhetoric, President Trump looks to be sorely disappointing American workers on trade,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
A few Democrats, however, indicated a second reason for their criticism: They are worried that Trump may steal the anti-trade issue away from them. “We had Trump come into our districts and talk tough about trade,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., during a press conference Thursday.