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In speeches in Michigan, a state hit by slowing manufacturing and departing jobs, both presidential candidates this week pledged to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Clinton backed the pact with Pacific nations as secretary of state, but changed her tune amid pressure from some Democrats and her primary challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"So my message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as president," Clinton said about the TPP from Warren, Michigan on Thursday.
In his speech in Detroit on Monday, Trump called the TPP a "disaster" and said "a vote for Clinton is a vote for the TPP." He latched on to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's statement last month that he believes Clinton would support the TPP if elected. The Clinton campaign has since disputed that characterization.
"Just imagine how many more automobile jobs will be lost if the TPP is actually approved. That is why I have announced we will withdraw from the deal before that can ever happen. Hillary Clinton will never withdraw from the TPP," Trump said in Detroit on Monday.
Clinton did make a key distinction on their trade views. She said the U.S. could benefit from well-structured trade deals, contending Trump's opposition to trade agreements is based on "fear."
Her continued opposition to the deal is a key policy stance for some in the Democratic Party who supported Sanders, an ardent critic of the agreement. Her opposition puts her in contrast to President Barack Obama, who has been a key backer of the TPP.
Trump has tried to court disillusioned Sanders supporters with his trade stance. He has also repeatedly criticized Clinton because her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.