VP Pence: Congress should pass trade deals, not investigate

Mike Pence (Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

MONROE, NC (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence says Democrats in Congress need to focus on passing trade agreements that help North Carolina workers, rather than extend what he called unfounded investigations of President Donald Trump.

Pence made the comments at a Union County textile plant Wednesday during his trip to the state. The afternoon tour and speech at Parkdale Mills in Monroe fell between two private functions attended by the former Indiana governor.

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Soon after flying into Charlotte, Pence participated at a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. He was scheduled later to attend a “Trump Victory” fundraising event in Greensboro. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who is seeking re-election in 2020, also was slated to participate.

Pence responded at Parkdale to word that Trump had angrily walked out of a planned White House meeting with legislative Democrats on Wednesday after learning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters earlier that the president was “engaged in a cover-up.” Trump said he would not work with Democrats if they continue with their probes.

“Democrats in Congress seem more interested in playing politics than making progress for the American people,” Pence said at the plant. “Reckless accusations won’t pave a single new road and partisan investigations won’t create a single American job.”

Pence urged the crowd to ask their members of Congress to ratify by this summer the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that the Trump administration negotiated.

Pence said the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, led many textile companies in North Carolina, Indiana and nationwide to move their operations to Mexico. The new agreement would supersede NAFTA.

“We’re simply not going to allow an outdated trade deal to hurt American manufacturers or American farmers anymore,” he said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Republican U.S. Reps. Richard Hudson and Mark Walker of North Carolina could be seen getting off the vice president’s plane with Pence at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport at midday.