Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reportedly told senators Tuesday that he advised President Donald Trump to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the latest of a series of contradictory statements from Trump and his administration about the trade deal.
Trump has been inconsistent on the issue since pulling out by executive order in January. Within a short period, he has ordered aides to look at rejoining the TPP and also tweeted: “I don’t like the deal for the United States. Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work.”
The TPP was a signature piece of former President Barack Obama’s Asia policy, a way to band together with other nations to balance out China’s power. According to the Washington Post, the debate around the TPP reveals greater schisms within the Republican party over trade, as Trump’s protectionist inclinations clash with GOP lawmakers’ concern for their agricultural base.