Cornyn ‘optimistic’ Trump will stay in NAFTA
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHouse easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump Senate panel clears bill to bolster probes of foreign investment deals McConnell tells senators he might scrap August recess MORE (R-Texas) said he is "optimistic" that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Zucker: Trump 'secretly watching CNN' all day and night GOP candidate behind 'Deportation Bus' loses in gubernatorial bid Penn to Hewitt: Mueller probe born out of ‘hysteria’ MORE will keep the U.S. in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after a White House meeting with Senate committees on Wednesday. 

Cornyn said he is "more optimistic" that Trump won't scrap the 24-year-old trade deal with Canada and Mexico after the meeting.

"We just encouraged him to continue to modernize NAFTA," Cornyn said, according to Reuters

Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, also noted that Trump was "very aware of the election in Mexico and not wanting to have an untoward effect on that." 

The Wednesday meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee came after Trump said in his State of the Union address last week that the best deal for the U.S. could mean withdrawing from the trade pact. Following the speech, 36 senators called for Trump to stay in the deal. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Lawmakers concerned about lasting damage to the U.S. economy outside NAFTA at the meeting urged Trump to not follow through on his threats to pull out and instead to continue to negotiate to modernize the deal. 

"In our meeting, we underscored that preserving NAFTA is vital for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on trade in North America, and that weakening the agreement would jeopardize American economic growth,” said Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchRepublicans think Trump is losing trade war McConnell tells senators he might scrap August recess Longtime tax aide leaving Senate Finance Committee MORE (R-Utah).

Cornyn underscored the importance of making progress in negotiations with the partner countries in upcoming weeks for a successful deal, as negotiators are meeting for the sixth of seven rounds of talks.