Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims Trump Does Not Deserve Credit for USMCA


CLAIM: President Donald Trump does not deserve credit for USMCA because the final version is different than the original.

VERDICT: FALSE. The USMCA is Trump’s idea and would not have happened at all without his constant push for the deal.

Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden sat for a rare interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in Macomb County, Michigan. Tapper asked Biden about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), one of the signature foreign policy achievements of the Trump administration. Biden tried to claim that Trump did not deserve the credit for it, because it was modified by Congress. Tapper aired this part of the interview again on Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union:

Tapper: Now when you ran for president, and Barack Obama ran for president, you both said you would renegotiate NAFTA. You didn’t; he did. Nancy Pelosi said that the USMCA, which President Trump signed into law, is a, quote, victory for America’s workers. Does he deserve credit for that? Biden: No. I think — remember, he didn’t, he wasn’t the one that pushed that particular one that passed. The House amended the bill, amended the bill so he couldn’t — Tapper: He signed it. Biden: By the way, it was a big deal though. Here’s what they amended. He was giving pharma a way out, giving them a gigantic break, just like he’s doing now with pharma. If you — hey’re building plants overseas and getting tax breaks for it. That’s what it was about with him. And they said, no, no, we’re not going to do that. Tapper: But he renegotiated NAFTA and you didn’t, is the point. Biden: Because we had a Republican Congress that wouldn’t go along with us renegotiating it. Tapper: But doesn’t he deserve some credit for that? The USMCA is better than NAFTA. Biden: It is better than NAFTA. But look what the overall trade policy has done even with NAFTA. We now have this gigantic deficit in trade with Mexico, not because NAFTA wasn’t made better, because his overall trade policy, and how he deals with it, made everything worse.

Even Tapper didn’t quite buy Biden’s propaganda — though the idea that Trump deserves “some” credit is an absurd understatement.

The USMCA is Trump’s project, start to finish. The deal was signed in 2018, but Democrats delayed approving it, ostensibly because they wanted better protections for American labor, and to reduce some intellectual property protections for American pharmaceutical companies. The Trump administration agreed; the final changes were so minor that Mexico and Canada readily agreed to them and Trump immediately signed the USMCA into effect.

The real reason Democrats delayed the USMCA was to deny Trump credit; they only passed the trade deal through the House after impeaching him the day before.

Biden’s claim that “overall trade policy” is worse is also doubtful, and overlooks the role of the trade war with China.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.