The spotlight is shifting to the presumptive presidential candidate ahead of the DNC next week.
When Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination for president in Cleveland on Thursday night, he made sure to call out Hillary Clinton for supporting China’s entry into the WTO and trade agreements like NAFTA.
Now Clinton, who is expected to officially be named the Democratic nominee for president in Philadelphia next week, is fighting back.
In a blog posted to her official campaign website on Friday, the Clinton campaign counters much of the rhetoric in Trump’s acceptance speech, including his promise to “stand up to countries that cheat on trade” and “cancel rules and regulations that send jobs overseas.” What Trump means, according to the campaign, is that he will “start a trade war with China” and “hope everyone forgets my own long history of outsourcing.”
Meanwhile, Clinton supporters such as the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record are promoting her history on trade, including her pledge earlier this year to “impose consequences when China breaks the rules by dumping its cheap products in our markets.” Clinton also pledged to oppose granting China market economy status, which would weaken the tools for dealing with trade cheating.
Both Trump’s lengthy speech on Thursday night and the Clinton response to it highlight the important role manufacturing issues will likely have in the heated campaign. This is the first presidential campaign in the post-World War II era that has seen both party candidates take a skeptical view on trade, and it is likely the talk will only get tougher.
The candidates are responding to the facts on the ground, as more than 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2001. While about 333,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created in President Obama’s second term, that is far below the goal he set to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the time he leaves office. And the risk of further job loss remains – more than 15,000 steelworkers have been given layoff notices because of the steel imports crisis, for example.
So, expect more manufacturing talk ahead – including at the Democratic National Convention next week. In fact, we’re kicking off the conversation on Monday afternoon, when we will host a town hall discussion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on how manufacturing can help rebuild the middle class.
Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to Clinton, will give the keynote address. United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard will also share remarks, and a number of additional speakers will talk about issues like trade, infrastructure and job creation.