President Donald Trump will meet at the White House with a group of 13 farm-state Republican senators and representatives to talk about trade. Des Moines Register
Facing criticism from allies and Republican worries about upcoming congressional elections, President Donald Trump traveled to two farm states Thursday and urged backers to stick with him on trade, despite tariff battles with Europe and China that are undercutting crop prices.
“We just opened up Europe for you farmers,” Trump told backers in Iowa before traveling to a reopened steel plant in Illinois to say that tariffs on steel and aluminum are leading to revivals of those industries.
“We’ve got aluminum coming out good, we’ve got steel coming out beyond good,” Trump said during a trade speech in Granite City, Ill.
Farmers, however, have criticized Trump tariffs affecting their products, and Republicans are concerned that a depression of agriculture votes could cost the GOP control of Congress in November. They say that Chinese retaliatory tariffs in particular are hurting prices for soybeans, pork and other agricultural products.
Seeking to quell unrest, the White House this week announced a package of $12 billion in aid to farmers being hurt by the trade wars. Republican lawmakers, however, denounced that plan as welfare, and said the best solution to farmers’ troubles is to simply eliminate the tariffs.
While discussing trade during a workforce development conference at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Trump said, “The farmers love me; they voted for me.”
At one point brandishing a campaign-style red hat that said “Make Our Farmers Great Again,” Trump touted new trade talks with Europe and said his tariffs are designed to force countries like China to change what he called unfair trade practices.
China and European countries have retaliated with their own tariffs on U.S. products, Trump acknowledged, and farmers in particular are saying that the penalties are hurting sales.