John Kasich Defends Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership


Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a stern and impassioned pitch at the White House Friday for a controversial trade agreement that has electrified the 2016 presidential election, widening the gulf between the Republican governor and his party’s nominee, Donald Trump.

In a remarkable political moment, Kasich stood in the White House briefing room next to President Obama’s top spokesman and defended the Democratic president’s most pressing policy priority: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade deal between the U.S and 11 other countries.

Kasich blasted his former colleagues in Congress for balking at the deal, accusing them of putting their own political fortunes ahead of the good of the country.

“There are people in the House and the Senate who will play pure politics with our future,” Kasich said. “I would call on my former colleagues in the United States Congress to think about the implications of saying ‘no’ to the trade deal.

Trump has made opposition to the TPP and other free-trade agreements a centerpiece of his campaign. In a clear dig at Trump, Kasich suggested the GOP contender was offering simplistic solutions to lure in voters who have been left behind economically.

“Sometimes simple proposals to solve difficult problems sell, but they never work,” Kasich said. In an apparent reference to Trump’s anti-immigrant platform, he added that blaming Mexicans and other immigrants for stealing American jobs is “a simple way to scapegoat” and “that’s just wrong.”

Kasich’s comments followed an Oval Office meeting with business and political leaders – a group Obama described as “people whose business it is to make sure that America has a strong position in the world and that our economy is improving.”

But the primary purpose seemed to be to show a bipartisan determination to get the trade agreement passed by the end of Obama’s presidency. Both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Trump have said they oppose the trade deal.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Deirdre Shesgreen