Early Tuesday, Trump announced on Twitter that “tariffs are the greatest!” stating that:
Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
Shortly after he made that statement, his administration announced that it was planning to hand out $12 billion in aid to farmers who have had trouble exporting goods since Trump’s trade war has escalated.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told reporters Tuesday:
‘President Trump has promised since day one that he had the back of every farmer and rancher. Trump and his administration time to work on long-term trade deals.’
But what Perdue neglected to say was that Trump only has the backs of every farmer in key electoral states.
According to CNBC:
‘Casey Guernsey, whose family has been farming in Missouri since the 1840s, said the Trump administration’s plan was not sustainable. Guernsey, a spokesperson for Americans for Farmers and Families, told CNBC Tuesday that the plan could heighten uncertainty in what’s already a down market.’
“You only have so many calves that are born every year, and there’s only one time to harvest a crop, so you really have to make the best decision you can on any given day for the upcoming year,” Guernsey said. “We don’t want to pin our hopes on a check from the government every month.”‘
And Guernsey is not alone in his thinking.
In fact, some of the biggest critics of Trump’s newest aid plan are Republicans.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said:
‘They want trade, not aid.’
Johnson went on to add:
‘This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here. Commissars deciding who should be granted waivers. Commissars in the administration trying to figure out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits.
Farmers actually want the free-market system to work as best as possible and they want access to these overseas markets. I’m very exasperated. This is serious.’
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also said that Trump is essentially putting farmers on welfare:
‘You yourself put in place a policy that causes people to need to be on welfare and then you provide the welfare. It would be much better to just reverse the policy that’s creating this.’
But farmers aren’t the only people who have been hit by these tariffs. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) pointed out that fishermen are also suffering.
‘Farmers are hit but there are a lot of others that are hit by these tariffs as well. I have a seafood industry up north that is not considered to be farmers. We’re farmers of the sea.
The impact to the seafood industry is significant.’
Trump’s escalating trade war is hurting his base more than anyone else, and even if he backs off or drops his tariffs on China and Mexico, the damage is likely to have already been done. Our relationship with the rest of the world, and Trump’s relationship with key members of his party, have been permanently damaged.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube.