PoliZette

Huckabee: Trade Stance Costs Me

Says donors won't contribute because he opposes TPP deal

Trailing GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Thursday that he has lost campaign donations because of his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and other global pacts.

The former Arkansas governor said big money is what’s driving Republicans to support accords like the TPP. Striking a populist note, he decried the influence of the “the donor class” that backs such deals, adding that his stance on trade creates a “huge challenge” in raising money to run a nationwide campaign for president.

“I’ve had people specifically say, ‘I’m not going to support you because I want someone who will go out there and support these trade deals,’” Huckabee said Thursday on “The Laura Ingraham Show. “So I not only get that, but I also get millions of dollars spent against me by super PACs funded by these same donor class, investor class folks.”

Real-world experience, Huckabee said, shows that free trade is a failure.

“Shame on us if we get fooled again by these trade agreements that are supposed to bring all these jobs and prosperity,” he said. “The truth is, Laura, it makes a few people in the investor class very, very rich, but is comes at the expense of a lot of American workers who lose their jobs.”

“In a bilateral agreement, if someone cheats or we want to make a decision, we’re not beholden to a bunch of Third World people in this treaty organization,” Paul said.

Huckabee said the country has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs and 60,000 manufacturing plants since 2000. Since 1990, he added, the country has imported $11 trillion more in goods and services than it has exported.

“And that’s after all these magnificent trade deals that are supposed to bring great prosperity,” he said.

In a separate appearance Thursday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Ingraham that he has grown more skeptical of large trade agreements like the Pacific nation deal, which involves the United States and 11 other nations. He said trade rules are better negotiated between two countries.

“In a bilateral agreement, if someone cheats or we want to make a decision, we’re not beholden to a bunch of Third World people in this treaty organization,” Paul said.

Paul, also a presidential candidate, was one of only five Republicans in the Senate to vote against giving President Barack Obama the authority to negotiate the deal with minimal input from Congress. When the pact comes up for a vote, probably early next year, Congress can only accept or reject it, but cannot amend the deal.

“The biggest problem we face in this country is a collapse of the separation of powers,” he said. “Too many powers have gravitated to the executive branch.”

“I think the biggest problem we face in this country is a collapse of the separation of powers,” he said. “Too many powers have gravitated to the executive branch.”

Paul noted that the text of the agreement remains under wraps.

“I don’t know what’s in the agreement yet,” he said. “I went over and read the initial version … Now there’s a new version, and I wonder whether I was fed a version that really doesn’t have some of the important details the final version’s going to have.”

meet the author

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected].