Going Around Trump, Governors Embark on Their Own Diplomatic Missions

In Economy, States On

But under the Trump administration, that has begun to change: Leadership at the state level has taken on an increasingly global dimension, as governors assert themselves in areas where they view Mr. Trump as abandoning the typical priorities of the federal government. They have forged partnerships across state and party lines to offset Trump administration policies they see as harmful to their constituencies.

Unsettled by the president’s skepticism of foreign trade, governors have made newly pointed appeals to international businesses and consumers, at times gently rebuking the White House for presenting an inhospitable face to the world.

After Mr. Trump rejected the Paris climate agreement, a dozen governors announced a state-level coalition to carry out the pact in a partial form, with Gov. Jerry Brown of California, a Democrat, taking a leading role and traveling to China for a meeting on climate with President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Hutchinson, who did not join the climate alliance, said Mr. Trump’s posture on trade had worried traditional United States partners. He credited the president with having “strengthened our negotiating position,” but said gestures of comity were also important.

“I do take advantage of the opportunity to reassure the European audiences, but also the Asian audiences, that global trade cannot be diminished,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “It’s part of the fabric of our global commerce, and I want to continue to be a voice for it.”

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