What's a trade disagreement among friends?
After enduring weeks of criticism from the liberal wing of his party over an emerging international trade deal, President Obama called out Senator Elizabeth Warren, the progressive leader who is determined to thwart the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues. But she's wrong on this," Obama told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in an interview scheduled to air Tuesday night.
"I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class. And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is, when you dig into the facts they are wrong," Obama said.
Warren has been outspoken about her opposition to the deal. In December, Warren, along with fellow Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts penned a letter to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, voicing concern that it could threaten the nation's economic recovery.
"We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises," the senators write.
On Feb. 26, Warren took to the Senate floor to blast the trade deal, arguing that it would put corporate interests ahead of the American public's.
Warren painted a detailed scenario of what she believes could be made legal if the 12-nation trade pact is passed in its current form.
"Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences," Warren said. "If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions—and even billions—of dollars in damages."
Last week, Obama did his best to assure critics of the trade deal that it would benefit American workers.
"Now, the last time I checked, if you drive around Washington, there are a whole bunch of Japanese cars," Obama said during a Friday press conference. "You go to Tokyo and count how many Chryslers and GM and Ford cars there are."
"So the current situation is not working for us," the president added. "And I don't know why it is that folks would be opposed to us opening up the Japanese market more for U.S. autos, or U.S. beef. It doesn't make any sense."