Hailing the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement as “a colossal victory for our farmers, ranchers, energy workers, factory workers and American workers in all 50 states,” Trump used an event on the White House South Lawn to demonstrate his successes even amid an impeachment trial.
“The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved. There’s never been anything like it,” Trump said.
But in a sign of festering resentment over the attempt to remove him from office, Trump only invited Republicans to attend the ceremony, along with farmers and workers the White House says will benefit from the renegotiated pact.
Both came as the impeachment saga charged forward. Trump is hoping to highlight a strong American economy — bolstered, he says, by trade deals that better serve US workers — as a way to rebut accusations he abused his office.
The plan enshrines new auto manufacturing requirements and tougher labor protections but largely leaves the trillions of dollars in trade flow between the three countries unchanged.
Democrats largely voted for the trade agreement alongside their Republican colleagues when it came to the floor for a vote in December. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said negotiations between Democrats and the Trump administration yielded a better deal — one she said little resembles the one Trump originally sent to Capitol Hill.
She was not invited to the signing ceremony, a spokesperson for her office told CNN. Nor was Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who shepherded the rebranded US-Mexico-Canada agreement to passage.
Many Republican members of Congress attended the event, as did GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska. Speaking during the event, Trump shouted out a long list of Republican senators who were in the audience.
“Maybe I’m just being nice to them because I want their vote. I don’t want to leave anybody out,” Trump said.
Mexico has ratified the agreement, but Canada must still sign off before it takes full effect.
This story has been updated to reflect additional developments.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Allie Malloy and Haley Byrd contributed to this report.