Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump delivered a scathing criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday (28 June) during a campaign stop in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Trump, who has lambasted the trade deal in the past, referred to it as "a continuing rape of our country."
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country," Trump said, according to Politico. "That's what it is, too. It's a harsh word: It's a rape of our country."
The bombastic GOP candidate then linked the yet to be ratified deal to presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who supported the trade deal during her time as Secretary of State. "This is done by wealthy people that want to take advantage of us and that want to assign another partnership. So Hillary Clinton, not so long ago, said this was the gold standard of trade pacts," he said. "The gold standard."
According to Politico, the "gold standard" comments were made by Clinton during a diplomatic trip to Australia in November 2012. "This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field," Clinton said at the time.
The Democratic candidate, however, has since retracted her support for the pact, saying the negotiated version "didn't meet [her] standards."
Trump's remarks in Ohio followed a policy speech made in Pennsylvania, in which he touted his economic populism and protectionism. During his earlier speech, Trump also derided his party's traditional position in support of trade deals and spoke against the spread of globalism.
"This wave of globalization has wiped out totally, totally our middle class," Trump said in a Pittsburgh metal plant. "It doesn't have to be this way. We can turn it around and we can turn it around fast." Politico noted that Trump vowed to withdraw the US from the TPP once it was ratified.
Trump also applauded the UK's decision to leave the European Union and called on American voters to vote similarly to retake the country. "Our friends in Britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics and borders," he said, according to BloombergPolitics. "Now it's time for the American people to take back their future. We are going to take it back."
The Washington Post reported that Trump's fervent opposition to TPP marks how he is in conflict with the GOP over the issue of trade. President Obama, who is a vocal supporter of the trade pact, was given fast-track authority by the majority of congressional Republicans to complete the deal.
Trump also used his campaign stops to reiterate his plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) if elected and his proposal to order his Treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator, the Post reported.
"It's time to declare our economic independence once again," Trump said. "That means voting for Donald Trump."