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GOP congressman tells US trade negotiator she’s ‘too nice’ to do her job


When Rep. Greg Murphy (RN.C.) got his turn to question the top U.S. trade negotiator during a House hearing on Friday, he told her she was too nice to do her job and that she had “too beautiful a smile”.

“I don’t know you very well. You are very, very well liked by the members who have worked with you before. Personally, I think you’re too nice a person for the job you’re in,” Murphy told U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the United States’ trade agenda. Biden administration.

“Negotiators are usually very, very tough and sometimes mean. They’re not nice people like you, Murphy told him.

Tai, who holds a cabinet-level position, has negotiated with China and argued cases before the World Trade Organization. She made it clear that she was not going to tolerate Murphy’s assessment.

“Okay, well, let me just take the ‘nice’ out of it a bit: I don’t need your pity. I stand up for the American people, and when I speak, people listen because I represent the interests of the United States,” Tai said.

Katherine Tai becomes chief U.S. trade negotiator

In his in-depth remarks, Murphy criticized the Biden administration’s trade policy, calling the Paris climate accord and “green things” distractions that he says prevent the United States from competing with China. He told Tai she was “handicapped” by the Biden administration, adding, “and you’re stuck — personally, I’m sorry for you — you’re stuck in the middle of this.”

He went on to describe Republican frustrations on trade, saying the United States was allowing China to expand its global influence. Murphy, whose congressional district includes pork producers, ended by asking Tai a question about pork exports to Taiwan.

Tai replied, “Congressman, I can assure you that I know how to be nice to members of the Ways and Means Committee, and I never have been, I’ve never been criticized for being too nice. “

“You have such a beautiful smile,” Murphy interjected.

“I don’t need you to feel sorry for me either,” Tai continued, “so please don’t. Please don’t.

“I just, I feel like you’ve been put in a tough spot, personally, because there’s just been – this administration above you hasn’t shown any interest in trade” , Murphy replied.

Tai then told her that she didn’t need her pity.

A spokesperson for Murphy suggested that criticism of her remarks reduced Tai “to her gender” and argued that it was ridiculous.

“Congressman Murphy began his remarks by applauding Ambassador Tai for the respect she has from the Republican and Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee,” spokesman Harry Fones said in an e-mail. -email to the Post. “If you listen to the entire exchange and put it in the context of the hearing, Congressman Murphy says the Biden administration has put Ambassador Tai in a bind when it comes to to negotiate trade agreements and was not envious of his position.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Trade Representative referred The Post to Tai’s response during the hearing.

Tai was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Trade Representative in March 2021, becoming head of an office that negotiates trade deals with foreign governments. She is the first woman of color to become the nation’s top trade negotiator.

Tai, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was previously chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee and chief China trade enforcement counsel for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, according to her administrative biography.

After responding to Murphy, she addressed her trade remarks, saying she was hearing frustrations from the Republican side of the dais. “You stay very well on message,” she said.

“It’s a good message,” Murphy said. “It’s a real message.”

“It’s not. I think you completely missed the point,” Tai replied before continuing to answer her business questions.


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