Tom Price makes a case for global trade in the era of Trump

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., in 2015. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., in 2015. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The man who could be Donald Trump’s top health administrator dodged questions about the fate of the Affordable Care Act but said the U.S. political establishment must come to terms with the populist streak that’s reshaping the Western world.

U.S. Rep. Tom Price spoke at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition on Monday about how Trump’s victory, fueled in part by his vow to renegotiate free trade deals and support economic nationalism, is a wakeup call to those who took globalist forces for granted.

“America’s leadership role in the world has never been questioned inside the country – until now,” said the Roswell Republican, adding that U.S. leaders must learn to coexist with “a populist and protectionist streak not just in this nation but around the world.”

Price, viewed as a top contender for Health and Human Services Secretary, was a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that is now in tatters. His comments came at a summit in Atlanta focused on the virtues of global trade and foreign aid.

Price told the crowd that educators, particularly in elementary and middle schools, have done a “very poor job” teaching students about the benefits of a strong U.S. role in international affairs. And he pointed to a Wall Street Journal story about China leading an Asian trade deal involving 16 nations.

“When we don’t engage in this way, we create a vacuum in this world,” he said, adding: “If not the United States, then it will be somebody else. We absolutely need to engage from a trade standpoint.”

His call to action, he said, was not intended to be a rebuke to Trump, whose “America First” campaign warned that free trade deals have devastated the U.S. economy. Price said Trump isn’t opposed to trade pacts but is “adamant about making sure the trade deals we reach are mutually beneficial to both countries, but especially the United States.”

After the speech, Price ducked repeated questions about his potential future in Trump’s Cabinet. But when asked how he could reconcile his views on trade with Trump’s attack on the “false song of globalism,” he said the incoming president “recognizes is that the U.S. is a major influence on the world and we ought to be a positive influence in the world.

“And we ought to be a positive influence from both a soft and a hard power standpoint,” he said.

When pressed for more detail, he added: “As I mentioned on the stage, President-elect Trump supports trade. He just wants trade deals that are good and wise for the American people.”

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
Trevor Stricklin
Trevor Stricklin

There's no case for importing more than you export. There are go many things that can be produced here instead of imported here.

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

This blowhard nit-wit, creepy clown lost. Give it a break already.

Linda Giddens
Linda Giddens

Wish I hadn't voted for him. No TTP. Google learn about it. Kills American jobs.

Joey Henry
Joey Henry

Conservatives, how played do you feel? Are you going to wake up now or just keep denying it?

Joey Henry
Joey Henry

Barbara Murphy Kleese true but he isn't even in office yet and is already back tracking. Looks like conservatives were duped

Greg P Bates
Greg P Bates

He is correct in that we must trade with the world.

JF Williams
JF Williams

Just incredibly wrong when it comes to the approach.

Greg P Bates
Greg P Bates

We need to form an alliance in Asia to balance China's influence. The only question in my mind is fairness. Manufacturing jobs will never return to previous levels here in the US. Automation has seen to that. No politician can change that course.

Arden Jones
Arden Jones

I'm pretty skeptical that Trump will end the TPP once he is in office. His entire cabinet is filled with billionaires who have profited off of cheap labor and international trade.

Joey Henry
Joey Henry

It won't. He'll flip flop like he has been doing