President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation approving the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, replacing the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement after wide bipartisan support in Congress.
The agreement replaces what the president has described as the “NAFTA nightmare” which devastated American manufacturing over the course of more than two decades, experts have said.
As Trump prepared to sign the agreement, which was finalized last year, he said it’s been his life’s dream to fix bad U.S. trade deals he believes are beneficial to other countries at Americans’ expense.
“This is something we really put our heart into,” Trump said. “It’s probably the number one reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading right now as opposed to that beautiful, simple life of luxury that I led before this happened. But I love doing it.”
As he has done in the past, Trump put most of the blame for NAFTA and other trade deals he considers bad for the country on previous U.S. presidents and leaders, not on the countries they were signed with.
“They never even gave it a shot. They sold out,” Trump said. “But I’m not like those other politicians, I guess, in many ways. I keep my promises, and I’m fighting for the American worker.”
The signing ceremony took place on the South Lawn of the White House with hundreds of officials, guests, and American workers in attendance.
“This is a colossal victory for our farmers, ranchers, energy workers factory workers, and American workers in all 50 states,” Trump said.
The president also thanked the hundreds of people he said worked on the deal, as well as U.S. senators who passed the measure last month.
“Maybe I’m just being nice to them because I want their vote,” Trump joked, referring to the impeachment trial in the Senate. “Does that make sense? I don’t want to leave anybody out.”
Several Republicans were in attendance, but there were no Democrats on the guest list or in attendance, reports noted.