The mystery over whether Hillary Clinton has reviewed the text of the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal took a new turn Thursday.
“Now that the details have been made public, like a week or so ago,” Clinton said during an event hosted by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, defending her flip-flop on the 12-nation agreement which she once called “the gold standard.”
That remark mirrors something Clinton said during Tuesday’s debate in Las Vegas, when she said that after looking at the deal she changed her mind on the partnership, which President Obama is aggressively urging lawmakers to pass.
“I did say when I was secretary of state three years ago that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week and in looking at it did not meet my standards,” Clinton said Tuesday.
The only problem: the final text of the deal has not been released, raising questions about how Clinton could have reviewed it.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged the inconsistency in Clinton’s statements during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“Is it possible that she’s actually looked at it, because I thought it hadn’t been posted or been made public yet?” a reporter asked Earnest.
“Yeah I noticed that too,” Earnest said, adding that the Obama administration “look[s] forward to, as soon as possible, being able to put forward the text of the agreement so that everybody can review it and make their own judgment.”
Clinton’s switch on TPP is a politically-motivated attempt to appeal to the Democratic party base and to trade unions, her critics claim. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has consistently railed against the deal, which he says will have a negative impact on American jobs and wages. Most trade unions oppose the deal, too.
Earnest said that the administration will “make the text public, both prior to the president signing it but also prior to the responsibility that Congress has to consider and ratify it.”