Just how inept is Terry McAuliffe? The man who won the top office in Virginia due almost entirely to his connections to the Clintons apparently has some trouble keeping up with the news, even in Democratic circles. This has been the scene at the foundering Democratic national convention, where the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has torn apart the party, and has emerged as one of the top issues leading to the walkout of Bernie Sanders supporters yesterday:
McAuliffe chose this particular moment to reassure everyone that Hillary Clinton would flip-flop on her recently acquired skepticism of TPP:
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons, said Tuesday that he believes Hillary Clinton will support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks.
“I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules — but Hillary understands this,” he said in an interview after his speech on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”
Pressed on whether Clinton would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”
Hey, good to know! It’s not like anyone thinks the Clintons have principles, of course, only interests, but it’s good to get confirmation of that from Hillary’s bestie. Donald Trump wasted little time in highlighting the comments and alerting Sanders’ supporters, assuming any of them follow the Republican nominee on Twitter:
Just like I have warned from the beginning, Crooked Hillary Clinton will betray you on the TPP. https://t.co/eoNTWK6I8y
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
Team Hillary chair John Podesta had earlier told the Wall Street Journal that he thought Hillary would renegotiate the trade deal rather than seek “tweaks”:
After McAuliffe’s remarks, Podesta committed Hillary much more strongly to opposition to TPP:
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime friend to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, got crosswise with another powerful Clinton friend when he suggested Tuesday that Hillary Clinton might revert to her previous support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership once in office.
“Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong. Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said on Twitter.
Having gotten the message with both barrels, McAuliffe then tried to walk back his earlier statement:
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy had this explanation: “He was expressing a hope she will come around,” Coy said after the comments blew up on Twitter and elsewhere. “But he has no expectation she will.”
Er … suuuuuuure. Does anyone buy that for a moment? Hillary was deeply involved in the TPP negotiations, which have been underway for almost the entirety of Barack Obama’s presidency. She even bragged about her role in developing TPP and called it the “gold standard in trade agreements.” Zeke Miller tweeted out this passage nine months ago, when TPP became a hot issue for both political parties:
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 7, 2015
Of course she’ll support TPP, because she’s almost certainly never changed her mind on it in the first place. She’s pandering to the Left — and McAuliffe knows this. He just made the Kinsleyan gaffe of telling the truth at a particularly bad time to do so.