Trump on Thursday instructed top administration officials to explore re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a trade pact he pulled the U.S. out of last year while calling it a “disaster.”
Speaking after a trade meeting with Trump, Republican senators said the president told White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into joining the deal, which 11 other Pacific Rim nations signed in March.
“The president multiple times reaffirmed in general to all of us and looked right at Larry Kudlow and said, ‘Larry, go get it done,’ ” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a vocal proponent of free trade, told reporters at the White House.
Sasse cautioned that Trump “is a guy who likes to blue-sky a lot and entertain a lot of different ideas,” suggesting the president could eventually change his mind.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the president would only re-enter TPP if the deal was made “substantially” better.