“My concern is that we consign the Asia pacific region to China,” McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “They have now a very significant economic role, where 60 percent of the world's economy is in the Asia-Pacific region, and we are stepping back. I have talked to leaders of Asian countries who have all said that this will cede the field to China. And that, to me, is not good for the United States of America.”
On the campaign trail, Trump railed against the TPP, an agreement he once referred to as “a rape of our country.” He said the deal would cost America jobs and also pledged to back the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, another trade agreement that Trump blamed for a decrease in American manufacturing. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump remained committed to seeking a better North American trade deal, either be renegotiating within the NAFTA framework or backing out of it entirely.
McCain, one of a small handful of Republicans to criticize Trump for leaving the TPP, said the president’s job-protecting rationale for abandoning the deal does not hold up. The TPP was a “largely level” agreement, McCain said, giving American workers the advantage.
“I guess it all depends on your fundamental belief, and that is, with a level playing field… the United States worker can compete with any other worker in the world. And I believe that the American worker is the best, by far,” McCain said. “I believe that this is harmful. And over time, it will give the Chinese a greater domination economically.”