Trump discloses new farmer relief package, attacks Speaker Pelosi, and promotes the USMCA deal during a televised address from the White House.
President Trump met with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and various agricultural leaders, including President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Zippy Duvall, at the White House on Thursday, May 23rd at 3:15 PM EST. At the following briefing, he also discussed congressional Democrats, his Middle East policy, and treason.
In the midst of a trade war between the U.S. and China that has been deeply hurting American farmers and manufacturers, President Trump announced a $16 billion relief package to help farmers and ranchers. Many of these farmers and farm organizations have maintained their support for the President despite their decreased profit margins stemming from the protective tariffs imposed.
Last week, in a meeting with Hungary’s prime minister, Trump expressed that he thought the ongoing trade war with China was “…working out really well.” This sentiment is not shared by the farmers and manufacturers for whom the trade war has meant that their crops are worth less and that the raw materials they import from China have become dangerously expensive.
According to the White House, President Trump has authorized the Department of Agriculture (USDA), headed by Mr. Perdue, to provide up to $16 billion to support farmers, alleviating the estimated impact of the trade war on farm profits. $14.5 billion will go to direct payments to producers and the first payments will be made in July, continuing in November and January if needed. $1.4 billion will go to the Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase surplus commodities affected by rade retaliation to be distributed to schools, food banks, and other groups. $100 million will go to developing new export markets for American producers through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.
Also according to the White House, President Trump negotiated a deal with the E.U. to increase American soybean exports as well as a deal with Japan to export American beef to the country.
Mr. Perdue supports the aid package, saying in a statement released today: “China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump…”
In addition to the relief program, President Trump pointed to his efforts in ensuring rural broadband access, better rural healthcare, and his Opportunity Zones project, which he said was “bringing new prosperity to distressed rural communities.” He also took this opportunity to reiterate that, “…we have the most people working in the history of our country working today,” crediting his administration’s policies for reducing unemployment.
President Trump also took time to promote the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which he negotiated. According to the White House, the USMCA eliminates Canada’s programs allowing low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers and expands market access for dairy products, eggs, and poultry.
President Trump referred to the Speaker as “Crazy Nancy”
President Trump criticized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) for wanting two weeks to review the USMCA, despite U.S. Trade Representative Robert LIghthizer deciding to wait for Pelosi’s approval. In the briefing, President Trump referred to the Speaker as “Crazy Nancy” and said: “I don’t think that Nancy Pelosi understands the deal; it’s too complicated,” and “they sort of feel she’s disintegrating before the rush…as you know it’s signed. Mexico’s approved the deal. Canada’s approved the deal…Pelosi does not understand the bill…she’s got to get up to snuff and learn the bill,” adding, “by the way, I think she wants to approve it.”
These attacks came after Speaker Pelosi suggested that President Trump’s aides and family should organize an intervention for the President after he angrily blew-up at a meeting with congressional Democrats on infrastructure.
At today’s televised address from the Roosevelt Room, he called up various members of his staff including Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, each of whom told the press that the President had been very calm and maintained his temper during the aforementioned meeting and that Speaker Pelosi was lying. The President told the press: “Cryin’ Chuck, Crazy Nancy…I watched Nancy and she was all crazy yesterday.”
The Middle East
Towards the end of the briefing, President Trump was asked whether he would send troops to the Middle East. He responded: “If we need that, I don’t think we’re going to need that. I have a meeting on it in about an hour. I would certainly send troops if we need them…they’re a nation of terror…” maintaining that “they’re great people but the country is in very bad shape,” after attacking the deal President Obama made with Iran, which President Trump dismantled. When asked about U.S. footprint in the Middle East, President Trump reiterated that we should have never sent troops to the Middle East, but that he had done a great job in de-escalating ISIS and strengthening the U.S. military to be the best it had ever been.
At the end of the briefing, President Trump stated that he would not work with Democrats until they stopped investigating his administration. When asked whether he would raise the debt limit or sign the budget if the Democrats had not ceased their investigation, the President answered: “we’ll see what happens…let them get their angst out of their belt and when it is we can do it so quick your heads will spin.”
He also articulated that he felt that Comey, McCabe, former FBI agent Strzok, and former FBI agent Page had been treasonous toward him, after a reporter reminded President Trump that treason is an offense punishable by death.