In Monessen, Trump lays out 7-step plan to boost economy
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump toned down his blustery, off-the-cuff demeanor to deliver a policy-driven, teleprompter-aided speech Tuesday in Monessen that focused on rebuilding the American economy.
“We can turn it around, and we can turn it around fast,” Trump said during his 35-minute speech at Alumisource, with a backdrop of crushed scrap metal behind him.
— Justin Merriman (@justinmerriman) June 28, 2016
Alumisource provides shredded scrap to the aluminum and steel industries.
While critics have panned Trump’s campaign for being light on policy specifics, the billionaire businessman unveiled a seven-step plan Tuesday that he said would kickstart economic growth.
Trump said he would withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which he said would be “the death blow for American manufacturing (because) it would give up all of our economic leverage to an international commission that would put the interests of foreign countries above our own.”
“There is no way to fix the TPP,” Trump said. “We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international trade agreement that ties us up and binds us down.”
Trump said he would “appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators” and then tell the nation’s North American Free Trade Agreement partners that he wants to renegotiate terms of NAFTA. If they refuse, Trump said he would notify them that the United States intends to withdraw from the pact.
Trump said he would direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify violations of existing trade agreements by other countries and direct agencies to “use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses.”
The Treasury Secretary would be directed to label China a “currency manipulator.” Trump said any country that “devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply,” though he did not elaborate.
Trump said he would instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in the United States and at the World Trade Organization. And he said if China did not stop stealing American trade secrets and other illegal trade activities, he would “use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes,” including assessing tariffs.
“A new era of prosperity will finally begin,” Trump said.
Denny Mangold, 76, of Gibsonia sprang out of his seat midway through the speech and led a pro-Trump chant.
“I was enthused,” Mangold said afterward. “The speech showed the mentality of a man who wants to bring America back to its potential.”
Terry Nemitz, of Manor said, “I liked that he offered specifics today. He did a better job of presenting himself.”
About 200 people attended the invitation-only speech.
An Ohio Democratic senator and the head of the United Steelworkers union called Trump hypocritical.
“Trump talks about making America great again, but he doesn’t make things in America,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who participated in a conference call with United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard in advance of Trump’s speech.
— CWA (@CWAUnion) June 28, 2016
Brown rattled off a list of Trump’s business products that have been made overseas, from business suits, cuff links and teddy bears in China to furniture in Turkey, picture frames in India and shirts in Bangladesh.
Trump's speaking about outsourcing right now.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 28, 2016
“There is nothing that Donald Trump has outsourced that couldn’t be made in America if he was committed to it. He’s a hypocrite,” Gerard said.
Gerard and Brown said Trump has made a fortune off the foreign trade deals that he is railing against.
Trump conceded as much during his speech.
“Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization, moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas. Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy.
“I used to be one of them, I hate to say it,” Trump said, deviating from the prepared remarks.
Rich Cholodofsky contributed.