Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Confirming He 'Does Not Give a Crap About Working People,' Trump Proposes Rejoining TPP

"In a series of broken promises Trump made to the working people of this country, rejoining the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the biggest yet," warned Sen. Bernie Sanders

Jake Johnson

Representing just how much he "gives a crap" about working people or upholding signature campaign promises, President Donald Trump holds up his fingers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on March 8, 2018. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As if his enormous tax cuts for the rich, attacks on the safety net, and efforts to help bosses steal their employees' tips weren't proof enough, President Donald Trump further demonstrated that he "does not give a crap about working people" on Thursday by telling lawmakers he is considering rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact he withdrew from last year and repeatedly derided as "terrible."

"It's a ridiculous reversal and a slap in the face to the hard-working Americans Trump promised to fight for. TPP is a lousy deal."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

In a statement responding to the news that Trump has directed his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to examine options for reentering the 11-nation accord, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen argued that the president's move "could bring short term joy to Democratic campaign operatives" but would be yet another signal that Trump "cannot be trusted on anything."

While Republicans like Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) were quick to celebrate the president's step toward reentering an agreement analysts have said would reward corporations at the expense of workers and the environment, progressive lawmakers and union leaders decried Trump's TPP directive as a potentially disastrous "step in the wrong direction."

"In a series of broken promises Trump made to the working people of this country, rejoining the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the biggest yet," warned Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a tweet on Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also weighed in, calling Trump's move "a ridiculous reversal and a slap in the face to the hard-working Americans Trump promised to fight for."

Negotiated under a veil of strictly-enforced secrecy by the Obama administration and so-called trade advisory committees stocked with corporate representatives, the TPP was never really even about establishing conditions for "free trade," as numerous analysts have noted.

Rather, as The Intercept's Zaid Jilani argued, the pact is primarily aimed at "protecting corporate profits" by "crafting regulatory regimes that benefit certain industries."

The deal—which was signed in March by 11 Asia-Pacific nations amid fierce grassroots opposition—is particularly generous to Big Pharma, as it "expands monopoly protections and patents for various pharmaceutical drugs," Jilani observed.

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, concluded in a 2016 analysis that "the TPP is a deal about redistributing more income upward"

"It's imposing more competition on those at the middle and the bottom while maintaining and increasing forms of protectionism that benefits those at the top," Baker wrote. "The TPP is a protectionist pact for those at the top who are worried that free trade will undermine their income—like it did for those at the middle and bottom."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'She's Just Awful': Critics Swing After Sinema Ditches Dems Just Days After Warnock Win

"Apparently 'independent' is the new way to say 'corporate lobbyist,'" said one critic.

Jon Queally ·


Advocates Applaud as FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft-Activision Mega-Merger

Biden's FTC, said one consumer campaigner, "is showing, once again, that it is serious about enforcing the law, reversing corporate concentration, and taking on the tough cases."

Brett Wilkins ·


Press Freedom Champions Renew Call for DOJ to Drop Charges Against Assange

"It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange—a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself."

Jessica Corbett ·


Oral Arguments Boost Fears of SCOTUS Buying Theory That Would 'Sow Elections Chaos'

"This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country," one campaigner said of Moore v. Harper.

Jessica Corbett ·


War Industry 'Celebrating Christmas Early' as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

"There is no justification to throw... $858 billion at the Pentagon when we're told we can't afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities," said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "End of story."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo