President Trump recently appeared on Fox TV for a lengthy interview dominated by a rehash of impeachment events. I really think he missed a great opportunity to advance one of his major policy objectives — international trade.

I wish he had said something like the following to the interviewers:

“I especially welcome being here this morning because I can solicit your opinions on an issue that has consumed much of my thinking of late: how to get the proposed trade agreement with Canada and Mexico through the Congress. This treaty is of vital importance to America’s farmers and businesses and to sustaining the nation’s economic growth. I have been wrestling with two options for moving this forward.

“First, I could completely renounce the agreement. This I could base on my ‘further examination,’ which revealed that the U.S. would still be disadvantaged vis-a-vis our two neighbors. Upon hearing this, Nancy Pelosi would probably quickly move to embrace the agreement and get it passed in the House believing that ‘if he’s against it, then I’m for it.’ The downside for me is that it this might damage my broader relationships with Mexico and Canada.

“The second option is to disassociate myself from any ownership of the agreement. I would say that, while I did call for NAFTA’s renegotiation, I did not actually develop the proposed replacement. The credit is largely owed to Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democrats, who worked out the details. The weakness of this option, of course, is that Nancy could conclude that the pubic might give me some credit for actually placing country above politics — and for a magnanimous gesture.

“On reflection, probably the first option is more likely to succeed. What do you guys think?”

Bill Louis Long

Albemarle County{&lettersname}

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