Amid heavy speculation that he is a top choice as Donald Trump's running mate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Friday reversed his longstanding endorsement of free trade and adopted the presumptive Republican nominee's position.
"I basically agree with Trump's speech on trade," Gingrich told Politico
in an email. "We are in a different era."
Gingrich, the former Georgia congressman who was speaker from 1995 to 1999, worked to pass the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which President Bill Clinton signed in 1995.
Earlier this week, Trump railed against NAFTA in an overall bashing of U.S. trade policies. He said the accord with Canada and Mexico should be renegotiated or scrapped and that the United States should pull out of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership with 12 Pacific Rim nations.
"NAFTA was the final result of a process that began with Ronald Reagan in 1979," Gingrich told Politico in the email. "It had 14 years of effort and was central to North American progress.
"We are now in a different era. Twenty-three years after that vote, it is clear that a lot of our trade efforts are destructive.
"When the director of national intelligence staff reports that China stole $360 billion in intellectual property last year, twice our total sales to China, there is something profoundly wrong," he said.
Speculation rose this week that Gingrich was among the leading contenders for Trump's No. 2 spot. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
was also a top candidate.
A close Trump confidante told Newsmax in May
that the former speaker was the leading contender.
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