Donald Trump signs order withdrawing US from Trans-Pacific trade deal
President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order pulling the United States out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact negotiated and signed by 12 countries but not yet implemented.
The order marks the first of a series of actions Trump could take to either renegotiate or cancel trade deals he believes had led to, or will lead to flight of American jobs and manufacturing, such as NAFTA, signed with Mexico and Canada.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said signing the executive order, about the TPP, which was pushed aggressively by the Obama administration. The decision to pull out, he added, is a “great thing for the American worker”.
Trump also signed two other executive orders, which do not require congressional action or approval, including one that freezes hiring by federal agencies with the exception of the military as an effort to cut federal expenses. Though piloted by former president Barack Obama and supported by his party, the TPP had fallen foul of some Democrats, led first by Bernie Sanders — a candidate for the Democratic presidential ticket — and joined by Hillary Clinton who had supported it earlier.
Though signed by the US, it had not been ratified. These orders, on the first Monday of the new administration, come after a rocky start marked by Trump renewing his attacks on media, including over, he claimed, misreporting about the turnout at his inauguration on Friday.
Standing at a wall honouring CIA operatives killed in the line of duty, Trump spoke on Saturday about “a running war with the media” and accused it of wrongly reporting he had a feud with the intelligence community, when he was “1,000% with you”.
He then complained about media underreporting the turnout at his inauguration. Citing one network, he said “it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that’s not bad, but it’s a lie.” More than a million people had showed up, he claimed, falsely. On Twitter later, he boasted about TV ratings for the inauguration. “Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago!” True, but that was Obama’s second inauguration. His first was watched by 38 million people.
Continuing his campaign trail behaviour is worrying aides who had urged him to move on, according to news reports, but he did not and directed his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to double down on it, which he did. Spicer’s diatribe was seen as a sign of things to come, of an administration at odds with the press, not only published or aired reports but also about tweets and social media postings, with the White House closely tuned in.
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