Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Dealmaker-in-chief Donald Trump said late Wednesday that he’s not killing the North American Free Trade Agreement “at this time” after talking to the Mexican president and Canadian prime minister.
That news came after a day of false alarms, which included reports that Trump was considering an executive order to pull the U.S. out of the trade agreement with its northern and southern neighbors. The whole song-and-dance appears to have been a tactic to improve the country’s standing if, or when, NAFTA negotiations are reopened.
In a description of Trump’s call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the White House said Trump “agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”
Trump frequently railed against NAFTA—one of the largest trade deals in the world, which was negotiated by George H.W. Bush and signed, after much controversy, by Bill Clinton—on the campaign trail and during his presidency. During an event last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Trump called NAFTA “very, very bad for our country.”
“It’s been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we’re going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all,” Trump told a crowd of supporters.
So what happens now? Although Trump could’ve pulled the country out of NAFTA with relative ease, negotiating the agreement will require congressional approval. But, as Fusion pointed out back in November, there’s no modern precedent for any of this, as the last time the U.S. pulled out of commercial treaty was in 1866.
Here’s what Trump tweeted about it this morning:
- United Airlines is now going to offer up to $10,000 in travel certificates to passengers who voluntarily give up their seats on overbooked flights after Chicago law enforcement were caught on video brutally dragging a 69-year-old doctor off a flight to Louisville. That’s one of the changes outlined in the airline’s report on the incident, which left passenger David Dao seriously injured and became an international story.
- Trump’s administration is going big on a tax plan, which, although the finer details are still largely unknown, is already a bunch of good news for the richest Americans, including Trump himself.
- The right-wing Freedom Caucus, who were the holdouts on the Republican Party’s healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act the last time around, have endorsed the latest incarnation of the plan. Among the goodies contained therein: substantial cuts to Medicaid and slashing funding for Planned Parenthood
- The National Rifle Association’s annual meetings begin today (and run through the 30th) in Atlanta. Consider avoiding the region!
- An Australian Supreme Court judge acknowledged that selling drugs is “a good business model.” Then he sentenced the 20-year-old offender to jail time for selling meth.