President Trump left CNBC’s Joe Kernan speechless on Thursday when he said he is open to re-entering the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, as long as it’s on “substantially better” terms.
Trump was a stern critic of TPP on the campaign trail and officially withdrew the United States from the deal in January. Now, he says he’s open to re-entering it if the U.S. will get a “much better deal.”
“I like bilateral [trade agreements] because if you have a problem, you terminate. If you’re with 12 [other nations], like TPP, you don’t have that option,” Trump said, before dropping the bombshell on Kernan. “I’ll give you a big story. I would do TPP if we made a much better deal. We had a horrible deal. The deal was a horrible deal. NAFTA’s a horrible deal. I may terminate NAFTA, I may not, we’ll see what happens. I went around and I told stadiums –”
“Are you opening up the door to reopening TPP?” Kernan interrupted to ask. Trump replied: “I’m only saying this, I will do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal. The deal was terrible. the way it was structured was terrible. If we did a substantially better deal, I would be open to TPP.”
Kernan was left stunned for several moments after that, struggling to get his next question out. “Are you surprised to hear me say that?” Trump asked. Kernan said he was.
“Don’t be surprised,” Trump said. “The deal was a bad deal, like the Iran deal is a bad deal.”