President Donald Trump said Monday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal was a “disaster” and would “probably not be signed” by his successor.
“If it weren’t for the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP would probably not be signficantly signed by me,” Trump said during a rally in Florida.
The president, who spoke to supporters at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, also criticized Democrats who have threatened to block his trade deal.
“The Democrats are going to be the party of Wall Street and the big banks and they’re going to do it again,” Trump told supporters in Jacksonville, Florida.
“And we will be the country that works, that puts Americans first, and that puts jobs first, we’re going there.”
The president made the remarks at a rally with Florida House Speaker Blake Farenthold in the state, as he seeks to rally support in his home state ahead of a critical election next month.
“I’m not gonna do that,” Trump added, saying he has a “huge amount of respect” for Farenstine.
“We need to get rid of the corruption and we need to do what’s right for the people of Florida.”
The deal is one of two major trade agreements being negotiated by the Obama administration, which has sought to address the country’s trade deficit, while also lowering tariffs.
In a speech at the White House in March, Trump said the deal was “bad for America,” and that the U.S. must do better.
Trump has also expressed skepticism about the TPP, saying that the deal has not been “fair to all of the countries involved,” but he said he would like to see it signed by his predecessor.
“Because I do think the TPP will be a disaster,” Trump wrote in a speech in April.
“I would say this: We have a trade deficit with China of $400 billion a year.
And if we are going, in fact, to trade with China, we have to do better.”
The White House on Monday dismissed Trump’s comments as an attempt to deflect attention from his administration’s struggles on trade issues.
“President Trump’s campaign rhetoric about the TransPacific Partnership was incorrect.
The TPP is not dead, but it is not in the books,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
“It remains the largest trade deal ever negotiated, but we’re not going to make it.”
The TPP deal was negotiated in secret and signed by 11 countries, including Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore and Chile.