While publicly opposing an international free trade agreement, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was secretly lobbying Democratic members of Congress to support the deal as her newly released emails disclosed. Due to Clinton’s history of dishonesty and political flip-flopping, Sen. Bernie Sanders believes she will change her stance on the TPP and support the detrimental trade deal if she is elected president.
In a press release from last month, Sanders’ campaign wrote, “On trade, Sanders welcomed Clinton’s new-found resistance to a proposed Pacific Rim trade deal but noted that she was sympathetic to it in the past and favored other bad trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. The trade pacts promoted by multi-national corporations have contributed to the shutdown of 60,000 U.S. factories and resulted in the loss of good-paying jobs in the United States. While Clinton may have shifted stands recently, Sanders noted that Thomas Donahue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, predicted she would do another about-face and support the business-backed deal if she wins the White House.”
Although Clinton publicly opposed a controversial Colombian trade deal during her 2008 presidential run, the State Department released 881 of her emails on Friday including many that revealed Clinton was personally lobbying in support of the trade agreement. Falsely claiming concern for the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia, Clinton stated, “I oppose the deal. I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”
Newly disclosed State Department emails from 2011 revealed her conversations with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Clinton aide Robert Hormats as she furtively endorsed the Colombian trade deal while seeking support from Democratic congressmen. Formerly vice chairman of Goldman Sachs, Hormats was hired by Clinton at the State Department and now serves as Under Secretary of State. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In response to Clinton’s emails regarding the Colombian trade deal, Hormats thanked her for her “help and support.” He later wrote, “GREAT line on Columbian [sic] workers!!!!!”
Despite the fact that both Clinton and President Obama received numerous reports of violence against union activists, the administration moved forward with the Colombian trade agreement. A 2015 AFL-CIO report citing data from Colombia’s National Union School asserted that “in the four years since the United States and Colombia signed the Labor Action Plan — a precursor to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement — to address entrenched labor rights violations, Colombian workers have suffered more than 1,933 threats and acts of violence, including 105 assassinations of union activists and 1,337 death threats.”
Unlike Clinton, Sanders remains consistent in his opposition to international free trade deals. Speaking on the Senate floor in 2011, Sanders declared, “Mr. President, I rise in strong opposition to the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Let’s be clear: one of the major reasons that the middle class in America is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider is due to our disastrous unfettered free trade policy.”
Sanders continued, “If the United States is to remain a major industrial power producing real products and creating good paying jobs we must develop a new set of trade policies which work for the American middle class and working class and not just for the CEOs of large corporations. In other words, we must rebuild our manufacturing sector and, once again, manufacture products that are made in the United States of America.”
Whether or not the Justice Department decides to prosecute Clinton for sending and receiving classified emails on a private server, her emails prove that she cannot be trusted. Although she repeatedly claims to support workers and the middle class, her true loyalty belongs to Wall Street.
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