Donald Trump fired back Wednesday at his latest tormentor, calling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “totally controlled by the special interest groups.”
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee turning one of the largest and most influential lobbying organizations in Republican politics into his political bogeyman comes a day after the Chamber criticized Mr. Trump’s trade proposals as toxic for the economy.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is totally controlled by the special interest groups, folks, just so you understand it,” Mr. Trump told a crowd in Bangor, Maine. “They’re a special interest that wants to have the deals that they want to have.”
While Mr. Trump was delivering his formal trade policy remarks, the Chamber, a leading proponent of free trade deals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, took to social media to attack him.
Mr. Trump has promised to kill the TPP and pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico and Canada don’t agree to renegotiate it on Mr. Trump’s terms. His attack on the Chamber follows what has become a familiar pattern for his campaign – responding to attacks on him or his policies by questioning the motives of his foes.
“They want to have TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the worst deals, it’ll be the worst deal since Nafta,” Mr. Trump said. “No, it’ll be the worst deal, it’ll drain the rest of your businesses out of Maine. Believe me, it’ll be the worst deal since Nafta.”
Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes said the group’s opposition to Mr. Trump is not personal.
“The U.S. Chamber represents American businesses of all sizes from across the country, who recognize that free trade agreements, like the TPP, are an important way to accelerate economic growth and spur job creation in the U.S.,” Ms. Holmes said. “This is not personal. It’s not election politics. It’s smart policy.”