Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden admitted Thursday in an interview with CNN that President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) is “better than NAFTA.”
In an interview with CNN’s “The Lead” anchor Jake Tapper pointed out the time when former President Barack Obama as he was his running mate, both promised during the campaign trail that they would renegotiate NAFTA.
“He renegotiated NAFTA. When you ran for president and Barack Obama ran for president you both said you would renegotiate NAFTA. Nancy Pelosi said the USMCA, which President Trump signed into law is a, quote, a victory for America’s workers. Does he deserve credit for that?” Tapper asked Biden in an exclusive CNN interview.
“No, I think. Remember, he wasn’t the one that pushed that particular one that passed. The House amended the bill, amended the bill. It’s a big deal,” Biden replied, refusing to admit Trump deserves credit and that he only “amended it.”
“Because we had a Republican Congress that wouldn’t go along with us renegotiating,” Biden said in response.
Tapper repeatedly pressed Biden to give Trump the credit he deserves for the deal replacing NAFTA, but the former Vice President wouldn’t budge.
“Doesn’t he deserve some credit for that? It’s better, USMCA is better than NAFTA,” Tapper asked.
“It is better than NAFTA. But look at what the overall trade policy has been, even with NAFTA? We now have this gigantic deficit in trade with Mexico,” Biden said.
“Not because NAFTA wasn’t made better, because overall trade policy and how he deals with it made everything worse,” Biden said without going into explanation.
Biden as Senator in 1993 voted for the Clinton-era trade agreement and has continuously expressed support for it until recently.
While running for president in his second go-around in 2007, Biden defended NAFTA, claiming that “on balance it probably created more American jobs than it lost.”
“I voted for NAFTA,” Biden said in 2017. “You can argue that on balance it probably created more American jobs than it lost … There was a dislocation. Some jobs got lost and some jobs got created, but again, NAFTA wasn’t the problem.”
Later Thursday evening, Trump during his campaign rally in Freeland, Michigan pointed to Biden’s CNN interview where he conceded that the USMCA agreement was better than NAFTA.
“Biden was interviewed today on CNN. He was interviewed by Jake Tapper who I find to be a nice guy. I don’t think he likes me too much, but that’s okay,” Trump said. “He was interviewed on CNN and they said, ‘Which is better, NAFTA or the USMCA?’ He said, ‘No, no, the USMCA.’ Tapper goes, ‘What?’ Couldn’t believe it. He said USMCA. He made a mistake. From his perspective, he made a mistake because he doesn’t know what’s going on. Even though he’s right, he doesn’t know. There were a little surprised to hear that. They gave him a few chances.”