Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is sticking with Trump, even if farmers in his state will pay the price.
Indiana Republican Rep. Todd Rokita had already made it clear that he’s essentially running for Senate as a mini-Trump. Now he’s announced that he’ll even stand with Trump against farmers in his own state.
Rokita has gone so far as to campaign alongside a cardboard cutout of Trump. So it’s no wonder he has decided to endorse every aspect of the White House’s disjointed agenda. And that even includes Trump’s reckless trade war, which will hurt Indiana farmers.
Rokita painted the trade war as a much-needed development.
“We have got to try something different, and so I stand with the president,” Rokita said in a recent interview with WTHR-13.
Indiana farmers could be among those who pay the highest price for Trump’s rash policies. Yet when asked if would “side with the president or the farmers,” Rokita was clear where his loyalties lie.
“Well, right now it’s with the president.”
On March 1, Trump announced new tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, disregarding warnings from economists.
When told the tariffs would spark retaliatory action from other countries and spark a destructive trade war, Trump was unbothered. “Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” he insisted.
Predictably, the Chinese government responded by announcing new 25 percent tariffs on 182 American products, including pork and potentially soybeans. Both of those crops are major Indiana exports.
In fact, Indiana ranked fourth overall in the nation in soybean production and exports in 2016, sending $2 billion worth overseas.
And Indiana’s not alone in fearing the looming pain. Of the 10 biggest pork-producing states in the U.S., eight voted for Trump in 2016.
Trump’s response was to suggest it’s the patriotic duty of American farmers to take a huge hit to their bottom line.
“They want to hit the farmers because they think it hits me — I wouldn’t say that’s nice,” Trump said. “But I’ll tell you, our farmers are great patriots. These are great patriots. They understand that they’re doing this for the country.”
Nationwide, the farming community doesn’t seem to be buying Trump’s trade spin. A stinging editorial in the Quad City Times in Iowa declared that voters had been “conned” by Trump on trade.
Rokita’s entire campaign strategy seems to revolve around mimicking Trump. But with Trump’s popularity in Indiana sinking, that strategy isn’t working. A recent poll showed Rokita trailing Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly by 19 points in a state Trump easily won in 2016.
And siding with Trump over Indiana farmers isn’t likely to help Rokita’s chances.