Donald Trump's top three picks for a running mate - former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie - may be nodding along with the New York businessman's defensive stance on trade now, but past records show they have a soft spot for free trade. There is a chance Trump could announce his vice president today or Thursday, Gingrich predicted Tuesday.
[Adam Behsudi| July 13, 2016 |Politico]
Gingrich was once called a "profoundly committed free trader" and helped shepherd through Congress the passage of NAFTA but earlier this month said he is solidly in agreement with Trump's trade policy. "NAFTA was the final result of a process that began with Ronald Reagan in 1979," Gingrich wrote in an email to POLITICO. "It had 14 years of effort and was central to North American progress. We are now in a different era. 23 years after that vote it is clear that a lot of our trade efforts are destructive."
As a House member from 2001 to 2012, Pence supported numerous free-trade deals, including agreements with Central American countries, Panama, South Korea, Peru, Oman, Chile and Singapore. He also voted in favor of normalizing trade relations with China, according to a database maintained by the Cato Institute.
Christie may be the most aligned with Trump on trade; he said at a campaign event last summer that he didn't trust President Barack Obama's ability to negotiate on behalf of American interests. However, he said in true establishment Republican fashion that he supported trade deals as important for expanding markets for American products.