- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling on Democrats to draw a line in the sand on President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, saying the party could strengthen its appeal with working-class voters in the Midwest by opposing the plan.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mr. de Blasio, a 2020 presidential candidate, said it is “unacceptable” for Democrats to support President Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“The old NAFTA is one of the reasons so many Americans felt that the government wasn’t on their side, that the democratic party didn’t understand them and here we have Democrats in  Washington, folks inside the beltway, about to make the same mistake twice,” Mr. de Blasio said. 

“They gave it a nice new name. They were smart enough not to call it NAFTA, 2.0, but it is,” he said. “It is NAFTA again with a few new features, including some that are worse - that empower oil companies and big pharmaceutical companies even more.”

Vice President Mike Pence urged members of Congress to pass the “historic” USMCA, saying it will fix NAFTA’s problems, and that he’s seen firsthand the merits of the proposal.



“Whether it was textile manufacturers in North Carolina, farmers in Minnesota, auto workers in Michigan or energy producers in Texas, they all agreed: The USMCA is a great deal and Congress needs to act now,” he said in a Washington Post op-ed.

Mr. de Blasio, though, said the deal should be “rejected out of hand.”

“It is a litmus test for Democrats - you are either against NAFTA or you are for it,” he said.

Mr. de Blasio said he supports trade deals centered on protecting American jobs, empowering the nation’s labor unions and strengthening the wages of workers.

“That vision would excite a lot of everyday Americans - working class and middle class Americans - to believe that the Democratic Party is on their side again,” he said.

 

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