Politics

Tim Ryan: Democrats Can’t Oppose Trump on Jobs

Congressman warns Democratic colleagues to find common economic ground with president-elect

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said Democrats can’t oppose President-Elect Donald Trump’s agenda to reclaim and protect American jobs and must learn to work with the president-elect during an interview Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Ryan, who represents an Ohio district affected by manufacturing jobs losses, told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Ingraham that his constituents voted for Trump because they watched helplessly as their factories closed down and their jobs were shipped to Mexico. Trump is right that trade deals aren’t working for American jobs and workers, Ryan said.

“But the problem with us is that economics needs to be the most robust part of what we talk about because that’s the message that unifies us.”

“I don’t think you can oppose what he wants to do. The question is, can we really do [that] and create a national environment in which we can grow our manufacturing base and get our country back to the place where we’re making things and people can have those good, high-wage, high-paying jobs that manufacturing a lot of times can provide?” Ryan said.

The Ohio congressman, who recently lost a bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, said he looks forward to seeing how Trump will act during his term in office to protect American workers and their jobs.

“I want to give the guy a chance. I’m not here to just bash him,” Ryan said.

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“So all I’m saying is … it’s going to take a lot of nuance, and it’s going to take a lot of legwork to figure out how we do this because the supply chains have gotten so integrated since NAFTA and since — you know, ‘most favored’ trade status with China — that we’ve got to figure out how we unwind this thing and drive investment,” Ryan said. “And maybe it’s going to take some tariffs, but it’s also going to take incentives and it’s also going to take investment, and research and development.”

Ryan expressed frustration over Democrats’ apparent unwillingness to work with Trump on economic issues. Instead, championing social issues seems to hold the Democrats’ chief interest.

“My big beef with the Democrats is that we’ve spliced the electorate out, you know — we’ve gotten overwhelmed with this micro-targeting,” Ryan said. “But the problem with us is that economics needs to be the most robust part of what we talk about because that’s the message that unifies us.”

Instead of speaking to white Americans, black Americans, straight Americans, gay Americans, and more, Ryan said that Democrats must learn to speak to all Americans and show a willingness to find common ground.

“But the thing that unites us as Americans is everybody wants a job, and the best social program is a job,” Ryan said. “But it should all be based on economics — to hold our ground on the social issues, but we’ve got to have a message the unites everybody.”

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In order to have this debate, however, Republicans and Democrats must open up channels of communication, Ryan suggested. The Ohio congressman lamented his colleagues’ unwillingness to do interviews on conservative radio or television shows.

“I welcome the opportunity to talk with you and say, ‘You know, how do we figure out where Laura Ingraham and Tim Ryan agree on something,’ or Donald Trump and Tim Ryan agree on something,” Ryan said.

When Ingraham asked Ryan for his opinion on Trump’s Tuesday nomination of former Reagan trade official Robert Lighthizer to fill the U.S. trade representative position, the Ohio congressman said he’d be willing to work with Lighthizer.

“Look, if he’s going to be aggressive on these kinds of things, he’s going to have my support,” Ryan said of Lighthizer. “I think that Democrats, we can’t just be saying ‘no’ to everything Trump does.”

“I guarantee right now, Laura, there’s going to be a lot of things I’m going to disagree with [Trump] on, but, you know, the American people voted for him, [and] the people of Ohio voted for him. I have an obligation to sit down and figure out what are those issues that we can work on, and … if it’s manufacturing and helping my workers in Youngstown and Akron, Ohio, getting increased wages and start being able to make things again — you know, I’m going to be there to be a partner with him.”

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