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Israel writes: "President Donald Trump's unilateral decision to pursue trade wars with China has increased America's trade deficit and harmed American farmers who rely on exports to earn a living."

Sonny Perdue. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Sonny Perdue. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Trump Dismisses Farmers' Concerns Over Trade War as His Agriculture Secretary Insults Them

By Josh Israel, ThinkProgress

13 August 19

Sonny Perdue reportedly got booed for insulting farmers to their faces.

resident Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to pursue trade wars with China has increased America’s trade deficit and harmed American farmers who rely on exports to earn a living.

As the president continued to lie this week about how his policies have hurt those farmers, his cabinet secretary responsible for overseeing farming came under fire for calling them a bunch of whiners.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who previously admitted that U.S. growers were paying the price for the administration’s trade policies and were “one of the casualties there of the trade disruption,” insulted them last week at a Farmfest event in Minnesota.

“I had a farmer tell me this in Pennsylvania,” Perdue told the audience at a listening session hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson (D-MN). “He said ‘What do you call two farmers in a basement?’ I said ‘I don’t know, what do you call them?’ He said ‘A whine cellar.'”

That attempt at humor was reportedly met with some laughter but also booing.

Despite the dire effects of his ongoing trade war, Trump has touted his repeated tariff threats against countries like China as beneficial to the country.

“Farmers getting more than China would be spending. Fake News won’t report!” he tweeted on Tuesday, ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary.

Trump also retweeted a tweet from his official campaign account on Monday morning, suggesting that even though farmers were hurting, they were still behind Trump.

“No battle is over in a minute. If it is, it wasn’t worth fighting,” one farmer said, in a video attached to the tweet.

“We’re in a hole right now, but I think — if they go as they are — will get evened out,” another farmer said.

The Trump administration on Tuesday narrowed its list of tariffs on some Chinese imports which were set to go into effect on September 1, delaying levies on certain consumer technologies like cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and computer monitors until December 15, “based on health, safety, national security and other factors.”

It is unclear whether this will help farmers in any way.

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