The key moment of the evening came when Trump was asked by the moderators to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that the Obama administration has just finished negotiating with 11 other Pacific nations.
In his typical fashion, Trump used most of his time blasting the deal without going into specifics. It is “a horrible deal,” he insisted, that will “lead to nothing but trouble.” It is “one of the worst trade deals” and would let China “take advantage of everyone.”
Trump went on in that vein for a while before turning to the issue of currency manipulation. Sounding indignant, he raged that the 5,000-page agreement does not require China to adjust the value of its currency, thus giving it an unfair advantage against global competition. Currency manipulation is “one of the great weapons they have,” Trump complained to Wall Street Journal Editor Gerard Baker, one of the moderators.
After a couple of minutes, Trump was suddenly interrupted by the Kentucky drawl of Sen. Rand Paul, whose poor performance in the polls left him with barely enough support to qualify for the main stage.
“Hey Gerard,” Paul said to Baker. “You know, we might want to point out that China’s not part of this deal.”
“True,” said Baker, as the hall erupted with laughter and applause, “It’s true.”
I noticed that one. I thought Rand Paul was excellent in this debate. In the first debate Jindal might have been right in what he said but he was also rude and probably did not win the debate for that reason.