Trump, Clinton Continue to Spar Over Manufacturing and Trade

By Jeffrey Bonior

As expected, Trump fired back after Clinton’s DNC acceptance speech.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is firing back at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton following her acceptance speech for her party’s presidential nomination on Thursday night.

As we’ve already chronicled on the blog, Clinton promoted her plan to grow manufacturing jobs in her remarks while also criticizing Trump for making much of his own products overseas. “Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Well, he could start by actually making things in America again,” Clinton said.

But in a statement, Trump campaign senior policy adviser Stephen Miller aimed to portray Clinton as a promoter of trade deals, something Trump himself pushed in his own acceptance speech eight days ago.

“Excluded from Hillary Clinton’s America are… the people who’ve lost their jobs because of the Clintons’ trade deals, or any hardworking person who doesn’t have enough money to get a seat at Hillary Clinton’s table,” Miller said.

And in true Trump form, The Donald boiled that statement down into 140 characters over on Twitter, aiming to tie Clinton to trade deals like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.  "A vote for Clinton-Kaine is a vote for TPP, NAFTA, high taxes, radical regulation, and massive influx of refugees," Trump tweeted.

Clinton Presents Her Plan

While Trump spent a good deal of time talking about trade in his speech (and continued to push the issue in his response), Clinton included distinct details of her plans for America’s workforce and businesses in hers.

“In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II,” Clinton said. “Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business and infrastructure.”

America has lost about 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2001, and our nation’s infrastructure has been neglected to a point where it is now a serious problem for all Americans. But millions of manufacturing jobs would be created with a long term plan to rebuild infrastructure.

“If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future,” Clinton said. “And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.”

"Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado. Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin." Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump

The transformation of training young people for jobs in the changing global manufacturing environment is already underway in the Obama administration, and Clinton will continue that movement, she pledged.

“And here’s something we don’t say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job. We’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it,” she said.

Clinton also addressed the concerns of millions of workers who lost their jobs after China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. China subsidizes many of its industries and then dumps those products into the United States; a study that came out this week highlights the unfair advantages of the Chinese steel industry, for example.

In a call to “join us” Clinton said: “If you believe we should say no to unfair trade deals, that we should stand up to China, that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers, join us.”

And Clinton did not hold back against Trump on trade issues that have been a major part of his campaign rhetoric.

“Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado. Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin,” she said.

In contrast to Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again,” the Democrats focused on a message stating “America is already great, let’s make it greater.”

Clinton cited reasons our democracy is not working as well as it should, including “regions hallowed out by plant closures” and American corporations that have taken too much from our country without giving enough back.

“It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other one. And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again,” she said. “If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.”

Clinton said her first step in paying for investment in America will be to make sure Wall Street, corporations and the super-rich start paying their fair share of taxes.

“And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs – creating jobs here at home.”

Clinton interspersed her remarks with several digs at rival Trump. But it was clear she was trying to emphasize the fact that Americans have to come together and not be divided.

That was the result of our nation’s birth 240 years ago in Philadelphia, where this year’s Democratic National Convention took place.

“Though we may not live to see the glory, as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, let us gladly join the fight,” Clinton said.