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Trump moves to pull U.S. out of Pacific-Rim trade deal

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Donald Trump spoke while hosting a breakfast with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington today. At left is Wendell P. Weeks, Chief Executive Officer of Corning, at right is Alex Gorsky Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump moved to pull the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact today, fulfilling a campaign promise as he began his first full week in office.

“Great thing for the American worker that we just did,” Trump said as he signed a notice in the Oval Office.

The president also signed memorandums freezing most federal government hiring, though he noted an exception for the military, and reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the “Mexico City Policy,” has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.

Following a tumultuous first weekend in office — consumed by Trump’s criticism of the media’s inauguration coverage followed by pushback against his comments — the president was seeking to refocus on the sweeping, yet often vague, promises he made as a candidate. He campaigned as a fierce opponent of multilateral trade agreements, particularly the 12-nation Pacific Rim deal agreed to by President Barack Obama.

Earlier today, Trump huddled with business leaders and warned that he would impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States. He also promised tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically.

“All you have to do is stay,” he said during a meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin were among the executives who attended the meeting. The gathering kicked off a jam-packed day for the new president, including an evening reception with lawmakers from both parties and a sit-down with union leaders.

Trump ran for office pledging to overhaul U.S. trade policy, arguing that massive free-trade agreements have disadvantaged American workers. Since winning the White House, he’s aggressively called out companies that have moved factories overseas, vowing to slap taxes on products they then try to sell in the U.S.

“Some people say that’s not free trade, but we don’t have free trade now,” Trump said today.

The president also reiterated his campaign pledge to lower taxes for companies, as well as the middle class, “anywhere from 15 to 25 percent.” He also called for cutting 75 percent of federal regulations — and insisted that doing so would not compromise worker safety.

Today’s developments came after a first weekend in the White House that included lambasting news organizations for correctly reporting on the size of the crowds at his inauguration and mass protests against his presidency on the following day.

Trump delivered a more unifying message Sunday and sought to reassure Americans he was up to the daunting task ahead.

Speaking in the White House East Room during a swearing-in ceremony for top aides, the president warned his staff of the challenges.

“But with the faith in each other and the faith in God, we will get the job done,” he said. “We will prove worthy of this moment in history. And I think it may very well be a great moment in history.”

Trump said his staff was in the White House not to “help ourselves” but to “devote ourselves to the national good.”

“This is not about party, this is not about ideology. This is about country, our country. It’s about serving the American people,” he said.

Earlier Sunday, Trump offered a scattershot response to the sweeping post-inauguration protests, first sarcastically denigrating the public opposition and then defending the right to demonstrate a short time later.

“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly,” Trump tweeted. Ninety-five minutes later, he struck a more conciliatory tone.

“Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views,” the president tweeted, still using his personal account.

Trump also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accepted an invitation to visit the White House in early February. The prime minister said he is hoping to forge a “common vision” with the newly inaugurated U.S. president that could include expanded Israeli settlement construction and a tougher policy toward Iran.

Trump also announced that he’s set up meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

“We’re going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” he said of his meeting with Pena Nieto. Mexico is part of the free trade agreement with the U.S. and Canada. Trump said he also will discuss immigration and security at the border. He has promised to build a wall along the length of the southern U.S. border and insisted that Mexico will pay for it.

Later in the week, he’ll address congressional Republicans at their retreat in Philadelphia and meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

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  • The President said he would focus on creating jobs for US Families. By meeting with some of the heavy hitters like Lockheed and Tesla chief Elon Musk.It seems he is on his way to making that promise. Many Big Corporations are promising jobs in the Tens of Thousands. Man! This is what I like about Trump,he is NOT an “All Talk & No Action” Career Politician.In fact he is not a Politician! His Action speaks volumes and the Bis Companies/Corps hear his voice. He is a man looking out for the People and understands the hardships many Americans have faced for the past 8 years!
    By keeping his promise? He is Hitting the Ground Running. IMUA

    ……lets see where is that Story? Of an Extreme Liberal Berating a Trump supporter on a plane? She promised to behave when things escalated…..Too Late! She got escorted off the Plane .Soooooooooo Funny!

      • Clearly you are talking about government in the Nei, city and state. Cutting by 50% would just be a start.

        Federal government has the 401k/TSP for main source of funds for retiring. Our state is stuck with the massive pension money pit workers spike every chance they get. Feds are far more pension efficient than the Nei.

        And you are right. Some of these workers are way, way, way too fat.

        • Obviously a federal retiree. I like when they talk about local unions but fail to point out there bylaws are a foundation to city and state unions. Geez they even get COLA. Talk about fat.

  • @ deepdiver311, beachbum11, LittleEarl_01,Marauders_1959, lespark, MoiLee..
    Our POTUS is doing what he promised. Keep up the fight my fellow PATRIOTS!
    I’m enjoying the ride on the TRUMP TRAIN!!!
    God Bless America!

  • Good move on President Trump’s part and following thru with his promise. TPP is a very bad treaty which was never voted on by Congress to begin with.
    It was another NAFTA which is also very bad for our country and started the exodus of jobs and manufacturing out of our country and to other countries
    NAFTA and TPP agreements were all intended to destroy our country and the middle class. It is great for the multinational corporations and the globalists but
    not for the average working person in this country.

    • Trade is where Trump turns liberal– saying exactly what Bernie Sanders did. Cutting trade hurts business and cuts their profits- but that hurts the economy. Trade, free enterprise, and the resulting profits of US companies has resulted in more jobs in the US than have been lost– check Republican and business sources on this. We cut profitable businesses and hurt all the companies staying in business by importing low cost parts– like the auto industry and the construction business and stores like Walmart and Best Buy and Apple. It will cost more to rebuild the rust belt than move workers to Texas, Utah, California, Washington, Virginia, and North Carolina for better paying jobs that willl grow. Basic Economics

  • This move shows the President is a man of action, something we haven’t seen in a while. Like it or not, we have a results leader who has a laser like focus on creating American jobs and manufacturing. This is what the voters wanted, not the social engineering of every branch of government that Obama attempted. A new, and better day is rising in America, God Bless America!

      • If you’re going to rant and rave. At least come up with some viable information, and, please learn to spell your words correctly. I’m tired to trying to figure out what the heck you’re trying to say each time.

  • Trump is killing American businesses that trade overseas and cutting their profits to keep unions happy and save American jobs and make things we buy cost more. TPP barred Russia and China– now Russia, China, Canada, and Japan will take our place. Business, the US Chamber of commerce and Republicans sounded the alarm on this but too late now.

  • Someone asked if income tax disclosures required in the State of Hawaii. Found out that all of our elected officials are required to submit annual income tax disclosures to the State Ethics Commission offices. Their staff members are also required to as well.

  • I love Barry and Michelle Obama. I really do. I think they are truly decent people who wanted the best for our country. BUT, President Trump is impressing me. He’s not hemming and hawing, he’s DOING.

  • Why is trump anti free enterprise anti business and pro liberal like the unions and Bernie Sanders on the TPP? What country wanted into the TPP but was kept out? RUSSIA! So Trump hurts american business and increases the price of goods we buy from Asia to help Russia and workers and unions who will get a few jobs we will all pay for in higher prices and higher taxes.

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