Sen. Sherrod Brown Wants Trump to Deliver on NAFTA Promise

Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a news conference this week in Cleveland.
Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a news conference this week in Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
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by Nick Castele

Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says he wants President-elect Donald Trump to follow through on a pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, indicating that the door is open for the Democratic senator and new Republican administration to work together on certain issues.

“I find Donald Trump’s personal values and behavior abhorrent,” Brown said in a news conference Monday afternoon. “But I’m elected to represent the people of Ohio. I will work with him on things we have in – things that we believe in common.”

Brown has long opposed trade deals. He voted against NAFTA and authored a book titled Myths of Free Trade. Donald Trump ascended to the presidency on a platform that included such trade skepticism.

Now Democrats in Washington will be out of power for at least two years. Brown, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, offered this explanation for why his party lost:

“I think Democrats didn’t emphasize minimum wage, support for overtime rules, better trade rules,” he said.

He said he’ll work with the president-elect in areas on which they agree—such as opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“He wants to renegotiate NAFTA, I support him on that,” Brown said. “He wants to pull out of TPP, I support him on that. He wants to build more infrastructure, I support him on that.”

Brown said he wants changes in the way companies resolve disputes with governments under NAFTA. He also called for stronger environmental and worker protections.

But there are limits to Brown’s support. 

“I will oppose him on what he wants to do with immigration,” he said. “I find his comments about women and people of color and people who don’t share the Christian religion that I do, I find his comments about people different from that abhorrent and disgusting.”

Brown is up for reelection in 2018, and it will be critical for Democrats to hold onto his Senate seat two years from now.

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