Reporter, White House Clash Over Differences Between Obama and Clinton on TPP

September 27, 2016

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that President Obama’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will not hinder his ability to campaign for Hillary Clinton this fall.

Ron Allen of NBC News pressed Earnest during the White House press briefing on what he believes is a contradiction with Obama supporting TPP while also backing Clinton, who opposes the trade agreement.

Earnest fired back by saying he does not think it presents such a contradiction.

"How is this [TPP] thing going to ever take route and actually become a significant part of our policy if both future candidates are against it?" Allen asked.

Both Clinton and Donald Trump have come out against the TPP during the presidential campaign.

Earnest described the disagreement not as a contradiction but rather "a difference of opinion."

"So, at some point does he expect Secretary Clinton to just flip on this?" Allen asked.

Before Earnest could answer, Fox News’ James Rosen quietly chimed in, asking, "Again?"

"No, I take her at her word. I’ll let her describe her opinion and her position on this issue," Earnest replied.

Clinton has shifted her support for TPP in recent years. While she was secretary of state, Clinton helped initiate the deal and at the time described it as the "gold standard" of trade deals. Clinton has since flipped on her support for the agreement and has said that she does not approve of the deal in its current form.

With tightening polls, President Obama is expected to spend a significant amount of time on the campaign trail in October for Hillary Clinton.