Ohio Governor John Kasich is teaming up with an unlikely ally to get Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership: President Barack Obama.
The TPP, a landmark trade deal with 12 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, has become a hot button issue in the presidential campaign.
Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump support the deal, though a recent poll found the majority of Americans do.
Clinton was in favour of the deal when she was Secretary of State, but reversed her position during the primary season, saying it didn’t “meet the high bar I have set.”
Trump has called the TPP “another disaster done and pushed by special interests who just want to rape our country.”
Kasich, also a former Republican presidential candidate, told told CNN’s Dana Bash Thursday night that it was “astounding” to him both candidates are “opposed to free trade.”
“I think I need to spend my time making the case that we don’t want to hurt United States national security issue(s), we don’t want to turn our back over there, and frankly, we don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we’re not taking advantage of economic opportunities,” he said on CNN. “If we were to just walk away with this — with both candidates saying they don’t want this — we turn our backs on Asia.”
Kasich is meeting with Obama Friday morning, according to the president’s schedule. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will also be in attendance, along with several other bipartisan business and national security leaders.
Obama’s hoping to pass the TPP before he has to leave office in January, when it may never go into effect with both candidates opposing it.
If Kasich receives political backlash for partnering with Obama on the issue, he said, that’s all right.
“I welcome the fact that people will criticise me for putting my country ahead of my party,” Kasich said on CNN. “I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do with my political future, I really don’t. I’m not closing any doors. But I’m not here plotting and scheming what’s going to happen down the road.”