Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that Hillary Clinton would help pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership once elected despite her supposed opposition to it, only to walk back his remarks after the Clinton camp cried foul.
“I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules — but Hillary understands this,” McAuliffe told Politico shortly after his speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”
Politico specifically followed up to clarify that Clinton would about-face as soon as the election was over, and McAuliffe said that was the case.
“Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed,” he said. (RELATED: McAuliffe Says He’d Have ‘Fired Someone On The Spot’ Over DNC Debacle)
Seeing the potential damage that could come from McAuliffe predicting an egregious political flip-flop, a McAuliffe spokesperson quickly moved to walk back his remarks.
“While Governor McAuliffe is a supporter of the TPP, he has no expectation Secretary Clinton would change her position on the legislation and she has never told him anything to that effect,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said.
McAuliffe is a close friend of the Clinton family as well as a long-time political ally, and he chaired Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. (RELATED: McAuliffe Really, Really Wants Felons To Vote)
Clinton’s 2016 campaign quickly moved to rebut McAuliffe’s claim, with campaign chairman John Podesta calling it “flat wrong.”
Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong. Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop.
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) July 27, 2016
But there’s reason to believe McAuliffe’s claims may have merit. Clinton helped negotiate TPP as secretary of state and was described as the “chief advocate” for the deal. Only in 2015, as she faced pressure on the left from Sen. Bernie Sanders, did Clinton announce her opposition to TPP, saying it was based on the failure of the final product to match her initial hopes for the deal.
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