WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced plans to deliver up to $12 billion in financial aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs in the ongoing trade fight with countries including China, Canada and Mexico.
The president unveiled his emergency economic plan as he spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City.
“Farmers will be the biggest beneficiaries,” Trump promised of the embattled trade deals. “We’re going to do something that has never been done.”
“Just stick with us,” the president said as he asked farmers, who have been among those hit hardest by his trade agenda, for their continued patience as he continued to work out the details. “Don’t believe what you hear on the fake news.”
“Just be a little patient. They are all aiming for anybody who likes me,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the agency has been authorized by the president to provide $12 billion in programs to agricultural producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs.
“The actions today are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters of the president’s announcement. “This administration will not stand by while our hard-working agricultural producers bear the brunt of unfriendly and illegal tariffs.”
Despite the president’s efforts, some of his fellow Republicans are choosing not to back him in his efforts to win the trade war.
“America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world,” Sen. Ben Sasse, (R)-Neb., told reporters on Tuesday. This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he understood Trump’s plan but conceded that other options may yield better results.
“I think there are better tools that we can use to hold abusers of trade law and people whose countries perpetuate unfair trade practices,” Ryan said Tuesday, “and get them to play fairly.”
Meanwhile, undeterred by the criticism, the president took to Twitter to explain to the American people why he feels America has gotten the short end of the stick in regard to trade.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!”