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

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCongress braces for high-drama lame duck Trump's shortlist for attorney general takes shape Beto lost but Texas Democrats have a lot to celebrate MORE (R-Texas) said he is "optimistic" that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups 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 HatchCongress braces for high-drama lame duck Trump to award Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth, Elvis, Scalia, Hatch How much power do states have? Supreme Court holds the answer 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.