Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, taking a summer respite from his daily duties in the Bay area, will be attending Tuesday night’s White House State Dinner in honor of Singapore’s Prime Minister & Mrs. Lee Hsien Loong.
“Joining the President and First Lady in welcoming Prime Minister & Mrs. Lee Hsien Loong is both an honor and a privilege,” said Buckhorn, who will be joined by his wife, Dr. Cathy Lynch Buckhorn, for the festivities.
“Singapore remains one of our closest allies in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Buckhorn said. “I look forward to working with the government of Singapore and the Obama administration to increase global trade and create American jobs as the recent widening of the Panama Canal opens up significant opportunities to increase trade with the Asian market.”
While the Trans-Pacific Partnership has roiled parts of the Democratic Party, Buckhorn remains an unflagging supporter of the controversial trade deal in his role as chair of the TTP task force with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The deal is opposed by both major party political candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Clinton only came around in opposition after her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, made his opposition to the TPP one of the principal parts of his candidacy.
Singapore is one of the 12 signatories to the agreement, which has yet to be approved by Congress. Conventional wisdom has it that the House and Senate will deal with it during a lame-duck session later this year.
The Tampa City Council — all Democrats — also passed a resolution earlier this year urging Congress to reject the deal.
President Obama stressed earlier on Tuesday that he still he plans to move ahead with the deal while he’s in office despite bipartisan opposition on trade.
Right now I’m president, and I’m for it,” Obama said at a midday news conference with the Singaporean Prime Minister. “And I think I’ve got the better argument. I’ve made this argument before. I’ll make it again. We are part of a global economy. We’re not reversing that.”
It’s been a heady couple of weeks for Tampa’s Mayor.
Buckhorn spent last week in Philadelphia taking in the Democratic National Convention, which included attending a lunch of Clinton alumni during the middle of the week. He also gave a strong speech to the Florida Democratic Delegation at a breakfast, reviving talks that he good be gubernatorial timber.