Just weeks after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, Trump is now repeatedly telling White House officials that he wants to leave the World Trade Organization, too.
Axios quoted a source of theirs.
He’s [threatened to withdraw] 100 times. It would totally [screw] us as a country,” said a source who’s discussed the subject with Trump. The source added that Trump has frequently told advisers, “We always get fucked by them [the WTO]. I don’t know why we’re in it. The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States.”
The Washington Post followed up with an analysis of all the times Trump has flirted with the idea of withdrawing from several international agreements.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin immediately went on the Fox Business network and denied the allegations from the Axios report.
“There’s no breaking news here. So anyone who is reporting on Axios story is breaking news that’s not right. This is an exaggeration. The president has been clear with us and with others. He has concerns about the WTO. He thinks there are parts of it that aren’t fair.”
White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins picked up on these comments and said how it was interesting how Mnuchin didn’t completely deny the story by saying it was an “exaggeration.” This means the reports of Trump making the comments were most likely true.
One of the reasons Mnuchin and the Trump administration may be trying to downplay Trump’s private comments now is due to the fact that allies of the United States are reportedly “freaking out” at the prospect of the U.S. pulling out of another major international deal.
CNN political analyst Josh Rogin says U.S. allies are doing exactly that.
It’s also important to note here that Trump’s private conversations don’t always equal actions by the administration. Trump might not like the WTO but that doesn’t mean he is going to leave, even if he did threaten to leave.
That said, Trump has started a trade war with the European Union and this might just be one of the chips in his bag that he’s willing to use.