Kaine Claims He’s Been Consistent on Trade

July 29, 2016

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) sat down with CNN's Alisyn Camerota Friday morning to discuss multiple topics ranging from his goofy quality to free trade.

With free trade becoming a major issue during this year's presidential campaign, Camerota pushed Kaine on his "shifted positions" regarding trade, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was a source of controversy at the Democratic convention, as many on the party's left flank held signs opposing it, while the White House openly supports the agreement.

"You know, Allisyn, I really haven't shifted my position on that," he said.

He then gave a long winded response on how he voted for the Fast Track Trade Promotion last year to give the President the "power to negotiate the best trade deal he could," but that he would not support TPP until his concerns were answered. He said his main concern was that labor unions and environmental groups were not being treated equally like companies with secret courts and special rights. He then spoke about how he expressed his concerns with people, but that nobody could answer his question.

Camerota was not satisfied with his answer, though.

"But Senator, correct me if I'm wrong, just last week you said about it quote 'I see much in it to like' and you called it an upgrade of environmental and labor standards," she said. "So has something changed from last week?"

Kaine acknowledged that he did praise TPP, but he said that he was still concerned that environmental and labor groups were not able to enforce these standards in a treaty.

Despite Kaine's position in the interview, it should be noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who supports TPP, recently praised Kaine for his "solid" record on trade. After highlighting Kaine's track record on trade, they concluded, "But politics being politics, when Kaine joined the ticket, he sided with his running mate Hillary Clinton in opposing TPP."

Earlier this week Virginia's Governor, Terry McAuliffe, gave the Clinton team a political headache when he publicly stated that he expected her to reverse her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by supporting it if elected President.  

While Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, fired back on Twitter that McAuliffe was "flat wrong," many progressive voters are skeptical whether she will keep her promise based on her previous support for TPP.  As Secretary of State, she promoted it as a "gold standard" for trade agreements.