News & Politics

Democrats Reach Deal with Trump on USMCA, Right After Announcing Articles of Impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responds forcefully to a question from a reporter who asked if she hated President Trump, after announcing earlier that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a surprise announcement Tuesday morning, Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats have reached a deal with the Trump administration regarding the new version of NAFTA, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), meaning that Congress will now be expected to vote on it in the next few weeks. This announcement, a huge victory for Trump, comes on the heels of Democrats announcing two articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The California Democrat said the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a significant improvement over the original North American Free Trade Agreement, crediting Democratic negotiators for winning stronger provisions on enforcing the agreement.

“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA,” Pelosi said in announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.”

Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great” for the United States.

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!,” the president said in a tweet.

So, why are Democrats handing Trump a major political victory? The answer is simple: Impeachment is killing Democrats’ 2020 hopes in key battleground states, in part because the public sees impeachment as a major distraction. The USCMA has bipartisan support, and by passing it, Pelosi thinks she can negate this Republican talking point on impeachment to, at the very least, give cover to Democrats in swing and pro-Trump districts ahead of the 2020 elections, and swing polls back against Trump in swing states.

Will it work? Hard to say. Democrat voters don’t want their party working with Trump, and this could backfire significantly, and given the boost to the economy that the USCMA is likely to provide, it could make it significantly harder for the Democrat nominee to make the case for changing leadership. If the USMCA does what it’s expected to do, Trump will be even harder to beat in 2020.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis