Trump planned to withdraw from WTO, NAFTA, KORUS FTA in Aug. 2017: Woodward

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American Today News

More revelations are coming out from journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on U.S. President Donald Trump before its release. Bloomberg has a copy and says President Trump made a decision in August last year to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA and its trade deal with South Korea. For more on this and other news around the world we turn to our Ro Aram…. Aram… if Trump had gotten his way it would have shaken the global economy…. That’s right Mark… and according to the book, top White House officials rushed to stop the president from going ahead with those plans. Bloomberg cites the book as saying the economic adviser at the time, Gary Cohn and staff secretary Rob Porter pulled chief of staff John Kelly into the Oval Office to convince Trump to back down. After that, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis got involved and painted a dire picture of the national security and economic consequences of such a move.

They managed to convince President Trump of backing down from his decision, but it didn’t last long. In early September last year, he was reported to have a draft letter giving the required 180-day notice to pull out of the KORUS FTA. Woodward suggests the letter was likely drafted by White House adviser Peter Navarro or Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who frequently clashed with Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over trade policy. Again, several top aides stepped in, with Mnuchin apparently saying pulling out of the KORUS FTA would jeopardize Trump’s efforts to pass massive tax cuts by upsetting free trade Republicans in Congress. President Trump was said to have agreed to hold off, but only until the tax legislation was passed. Woodward’s book describes similar scenarios for Trump’s decision to pull out of NAFTA and the WTO, with his top aides painting a grim picture of the economic and security consequences that would follow.

The Trump administration is facing an in-house loyalty crisis as Woodward’s book and an op-ed in the New York Times by an unnamed senior official suggests there is a movement inside the West Wing to thwart the president’s agenda. Many of those officials cited in the book have since left the White House with few left to discourage President Trump’s eagerness to pull out of international trade deals. .

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