Trump Actually Said Farmers Will 'Understand' If China Hits Them with Tariffs in Trade War
As China and the United States gear up for a major confrontation over trade policy, President Donald Trump assured the public today that farmers are willing to bear the brunt of a trade war for the benefit of the country.
"If we do a deal with China, if during the course of a negotiation they want to hit the farmers because they think that hits me, I wouldn’t say that's nice," Trump said at a Cabinet meeting Monday. "But I tell you, our farmers are great patriots. These are great patriots. They understand that they're doing this for the country."
China has announced that it will levy tariffs on American soybeans, one of the country's major agricultural exports, which could make life difficult for U.S. farmers.
Trump continued to say that, eventually, the farmers will be better off because of the trade war. It's not clear why he thinks this to be the case.
One of Trump's major gripes with China is the country's treatment of American intellectual property — that was one of the main justifications for announcing the tariffs that have brought us to the brink of trade war. But if China caves and starts following U.S. intellectual property law after a long trade war, this wouldn't automatically help soybean farmers. They'd have faced the burden of foreign tariffs, but software companies and the like would reap the benefits.
Trump also says he wants to reduce the trade deficit with China. But his view on trade deficits appears to be based on a fundamental error. He's never explained how his plan actually would increase demand for U.S. soybeans.
For any other politician, claiming that the victims of one of a policy choice will simply "understand" and wait around for things to get better while they suffer financially would be a major gaffe. For Trump, though, the rules are different.
Even as Trump's own statements reveal the shallowness of his own massively influential policies, any outrage is drowned out by the next hour's scandal.