Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said President Obama’s recent comments regarding Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s opposition to fast-track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has been “disrespectful.”
“I think the president was disrespectful to her, the way he did that,” Brown told reporters after Tuesday’s failed procedural vote to start consideration of TPA. “I think the president has made this more personal than he needed to,” Brown added.
Obama has used tough words when discussing the opponents of the trade pact from his own party, which he is hoping to negotiate with 11 other nations without the threat of a Senate filibuster or additional amendments. In an interview with Yahoo over the weekend, he said Warren’s criticism of the trade pact was “absolutely wrong.”
“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Obama told Yahoo, “And you know, she’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”
Brown says he thinks Obama went too far with those comments.
“I think by just calling her ‘another politician,’ I’m not going to get into more details,” Brown told reporters later. “I think referring to her as her first name when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps. I’ve said enough.”
Obama, and his administration, has been making both a public and private push to convince fellow Democrats to support passage of TPA, but that effort failed when Democrats successfully tanked a procedural motion to start consideration of the bill.
Democrats now say they will only support moving forward on TPA if McConnell also adds a separate trade-related Customs enforcement bill to the package which includes a currency manipulation provisions that many Republicans consider a “poison pill.”
The president also opposes the currency manipulation provision.