Andrew Quinn, a White House trade adviser who has come under fire from conservatives for his role in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is being reassigned to the United States Trade Representative’s office, three administration officials told POLITICO.
The decision comes after Breitbart News and conservatives raised concerns about the White House’s decision to elevate Quinn, noting that he was the deputy chief negotiator of the TPP when he worked at USTR during the Obama administration. Trump is a strident opponent of the TPP and withdrew from the deal in January.
“Generally, the new White House has been wary of staffing itself with people who oppose the ideology that got Donald Trump elected,” Breitbart wrote last month in an article whose headline called Quinn the “enemy within.” It added, “There is no public record of Andrew Quinn changing his ardent public support for the multilateral, globalist Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
The White House announced in February that Quinn would serve as special assistant to the president for international trade, investment and development on the National Economic Council. Quinn is a career government employee who was on a detail at NEC.
Quinn joined USTR in 2012 as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Before that, he was the director for Asian economic affairs on the National Security Council.
Quinn did not respond to a request for comment. The White House said it does not comment on personnel matters. USTR could not immediately confirm that Quinn was returning to the agency.
Doug Palmer contributed to this report.