17th District Congressional candidate Ro Khanna
Oct. 27 in Cupertino.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
ELECTION 2016 |
An email from Ro Khanna’s well-connected campaign chair to Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta raises questions about the congressional candidate consistency over the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
Khanna campaign chair Steve Spinner wrote to Podesta in May 2015 saying Khanna supported TPP, just as Clinton did, at the time. Spinner appeared in the email to be reading the tea leaves of the congressional rematch between Khanna and Rep. Mike Honda.
“Honda is likely to vote against the TPP despite the White House’s wishes. Ro has come out for it,” wrote Spinner. The statement is part of a seven-point “Request for Action Items” list that also urges Podesta to advocate for Honda dropping out of the race early.
Honda’s campaign quickly jumped on the release of the WikiLeaks email Tuesday, flatly declaring, “Ro Khanna cannot be trusted to represent this district.”
Khanna first voiced opposition to TPP in January of this year. Honda followed suit within the same week. The public record shows both have been consistently in opposition to TPP, but the off-the-record tenor of Spinner’s email to Podesta suggests differently.
In a text, Khanna surmises Spinner may have been interjecting his own personal views on TPP onto the missive to Podesta. Khanna added he has opposed TPP “publicly and privately from Day One.”
Opposition to the proposed trade deal has been a rallying cry for many progressives who believe it will drain jobs out of the country. President Obama supports TPP, but many Democrats, including Honda, Khanna, and even now, Clinton, oppose TPP.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used Clinton’s inconsistency on TPP against her this summer when he mocked her for initially referring to it as the “gold standard” of trade deals.
In recent weeks, Spinner’s private communications to Podesta have been included in periodic releases by WikiLeaks. Previous emails showed Spinner actively pursuing an endorsement of Khanna’s congressional campaign this year by Clinton. Later, Spinner asked Podesta whether Clinton, already in Cleveland, might be able to make a 10-minute appearance at Khanna’s wedding. In both cases, Spinner was rebuffed, although there were apparently no electronic responses to either inquiry.