When Jennifer Pierotti Lim strode up to the podium on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, she was identified as the co-founder of Republican Women for Hillary, a group of conservative activists supporting Hillary Clinton.
Lim focused her brief comments on Donald Trump’s history of sexist comments, telling the audience that “Trump’s loathsome comments about women and our appearances are too many to list and too crass to repeat.”
But what was even more significant is her day job as a top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; she’s the Chamber’s director of health policy.
It was the latest indication that the U.S. big-business community may be preparing to back Hillary Clinton, which would be a truly tectonic shift.
Although the Chamber may present itself as the champion of small businesses, it essentially functions as a money laundry for the world’s largest multi-national corporations, who want to keep their political activity at arm’s length.
That money has almost always gone directly into supporting Republicans and trying to unseat Democrats.
In an interview with The Intercept after her remarks Thursday night, Lim said she could not speak for her colleagues at the Chamber, but said she hears from a lot of Republicans who increasingly support Clinton on account of her pro-corporate policies.
“I think [Clinton] is going to be a moderate policy maker, especially for the general election. She’s clearly going back towards the middle,” said Lim. “She wants to reduce the red tape and regulation on America’s small businesses, and I think that’s a starting point for a lot of Republicans.”
It also may not be a coincidence that, as CNN reported in early July, her husband Tim Lim has worked for the Clinton campaign and is a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, which has a multi-million-dollar contract with the Clinton campaign.
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lim’s comments coincide with increasing evidence that the lobbying group is warming up to Clinton.
Earlier this month, Chamber President Tom Donohue told Fox Business News that he was undecided between the two major party’s candidates. Donohue criticized Trump for his opposition to pro-corporate trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
When The Intercept asked Lim if she thought Clinton would support the TPP, she said that was likely. “That’s a great question. I know that she has changed her position a little bit recently on it,” Lim said, “but I think that she will go back towards the middle on TPP.”
As Secretary of State, Clinton called the TPP “the gold standard in trade agreements,” but then avoided taking a firm position during her primary campaign against Senator Bernie Sanders, whose opposition to the agreement resonated with working class voters.
After negotiations for the treaty ended in October, Clinton told PBS that the TPP would not meet “the high bar I have set,” leaving open the possibility that she might support the agreement if something changed.
People close to Clinton have doubted her commitment to opposition. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Clinton, told Politico Tuesday that he expected her to change her position on the agreement after the election. Clinton’s campaign quickly denied McAuliffe’s comments, and McAuliffe told Gawker early Friday morning that Clinton had “never supported it and never would.”
Chamber head Tom Donohue has also predicted that Clinton would support the TPP after the election.
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