(Getty/Scott Olson)

What made Donald Trump flip-flop on NAFTA? It would hurt the people who voted for him

Trump's suggestion that he was working with Canada and Mexico may be wrong


Jeremy Binckes
April 28, 2017 5:35PM (UTC)

On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he "received calls from Mexico and Canada" asking him to renegotiate NAFTA instead of backing out.

But, like most of Trump's spin, this story fell apart quickly. It turns out the reason that Trump was eager to backtrack on his promise to get out of NAFTA was not that other countries wanted his help — it's that his base would be hardest hit, the Washington Post reported:

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 As news of the president’s plan reached Ottawa and Mexico City in the middle of the week and rattled the markets and Congress, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and others huddled in meetings with Trump, urging him not to sign a document triggering a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA.

Perdue even brought along a prop to the Oval Office: A map of the United States that illustrated the areas that would be hardest hit, particularly from agriculture and manufacturing losses, and highlighting that many of those states and counties were “Trump country” communities that had voted for the president in November.

“It shows that I do have a very big farmer base, which is good,” Trump recalled. “They like Trump, but I like them, and I’m going to help them.”

Donald Trump's base will be hurt by a lot of things his administration is proposing. They'll be hurt by his Obamacare repeal plansall of them, really. They'll be hurt by his budget cuts. They'll be hurt by basically all of his policies.

But will his aides tell him that?


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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