American farm towns used to love President Trump. Now, not so much.
Massive international tariffs have started to cripple American farmers, forcing the Trump administration to rush to prepare a $12 billion agricultural bailout for farmers hurt by tariffs on soybeans, aluminum, and steel. The tariffs from abroad are in response to the White House's own new protectionist taxes. But farmers would rather avoid handouts and just get back to the way things were, The Atlantic reports.
Trump revealed details of the farm aid package during a visit to Iowa on Tuesday, with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue calling the funds short-term protection for farmers as Trump works out international trade deals, per the Des Moines Register. Both the Register and Ohio's Sidney Daily News described "mixed reactions" from local farmers, but dissent seems to be the loudest voice.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) told the Register that rural farmers need "markets and opportunity, not government handouts." The president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association similarly told the Register that farmers support subsidies only if they're "our only recourse." But Ohio farmer Christopher Gibbs, who "want(s) to support the president," shared much harsher words in a Sidney Daily News op-ed:
Let me tell you a riddle. "I slept with a billionaire because he said he loved me. I expected to make love, but in the morning I realized I was getting screwed. When I went to tell the world, I was offered cash to keep my mouth shut." Who am I? No, I'm not a model or someone named Stormy. I'm the American farmer. [Christopher Gibbs, via the Sidney Daily News]
Gibbs went on to say that the president is "using a club to bludgeon our trading partners and allies" instead of negotiating with them. Read more of Gibbs' barn-burning critique at the Sidney Daily News.