Many voters, particularly those who supported Bernie Sanders and/or are considering voting for a third-party candidate, have doubted Clinton’s newfound opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and suspect that she’ll pass a slightly more palatable version of the trade agreement when in office. There is no real evidence to back this suspicion up, but it speaks to a wide distrust of Clinton’s sincerity and her motives.
Clinton and her campaign have been adamant that that is not the case, but Clinton friend and former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe told Politico on Tuesday that it is. When “pressed” about Clinton’s support, he said, “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”
Of course, McAuliffe is not speaking for the campaign per se, he’s merely saying where he thinks Clinton will go. And McAuliffe’s other comments suggest that he still believes the public simply misunderstands the TPP and will come around once its explained to them by elites like himself. “I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules—but Hillary understands this,” he said. “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.”
Team Clinton was not happy with his comments, and pushed back hard:
But the problem with McAuliffe’s comments isn’t just that they reinforce a widely held suspicion about Clinton’s position on the TPP, it’s that they reinforce a widely held perception of the candidate herself: that she’s dishonest when it’s politically expedient, and that she shares her real plans with elites like McAuliffe and not the public. McAuliffe may be talking out of school—and it seems like he is—but this still seems shady and Clinton can’t afford to seem shady.