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Published: Monday, January 23, 2017 @ 4:57 AM
As he vowed repeatedly throughout the 2016 campaign, President Trump wasted no time on his first Monday in office in following through on a major campaign promise, as he pulled the United States out of a major trade deal, and pressed some notable U.S. companies to keep more jobs as home, threatening a "substantial border tax" on some products made overseas, as he used the bully pulpit of the White House to jawbone in favor of the American worker.
"I've been talking about this for a long time," Mr. Trump said, as he signed an official memorandum pulling the U.S. out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with eleven other nations that he said would cost Americans jobs.
As the President held the document for the cameras, he proclaimed his move, "a great thing for the American worker."
The Trump move drew praise from some Democrats, who had long complained the TPP would siphon jobs away from American workers.
"It’s the first step of many our country must take to bring back jobs and grow the American middle class," said Rep. Robert Norcross (D-NJ).
"This action confirms what I have been saying my whole career: we need to be prioritizing American manufacturing, industries, and workers," said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had met with a group of business executives, urging them to keep jobs in the U.S. - or suffer new tariffs on goods they want to import back to America.
"I just want to tell you, all you have to do is stay," Mr. Trump said. "Don't leave; don't fire your people in the United States," the President added.
"There will be advantages to companies that make their products here," Mr. Trump said, as he once more threatened to impose a 'border tax' on products being shipped back into the U.S.
Some Democrats in Congress used Trump's own words against him, noting his line of clothing is still produced overseas.
The idea of a border tax as a punitive measure - which some say is really nothing more than an increase in tariffs - worries certain economists, who argue it will mean higher prices for consumers.
But the President has been very clear that he sees this as the right move, and made that case again today.
Mr. Trump also signed a Presidential memo to freeze federal hiring, and to reinstate a ban on federal money going to international groups that provide abortion services.