Trump is rewarding farmers who supported his campaign by demanding that they take a massive hit for him. And he's offering nothing but empty promises in return.
Suggesting it's their patriotic duty to take an economic hit for America, Trump on Monday conceded U.S. farmers will likely be hurt by the White House's unfolding trade war with China.
But he stressed that farmers shouldn’t worry if their livelihoods dwindle because he promises to make it up to them.
"They want to hit the farmers because they think it hits me — I wouldn’t say that’s nice," Trump said of China. "But I’ll tell you, our farmers are great patriots. These are great patriots. They understand that they're doing this for the country," he added.
"We’ll make it up to them. And in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are now."
In just one week, Trump has already flip-flopped from his irrational claim that "trade wars are good, and easy to win."
What's obvious is that Trump's base is going to pay the biggest price for his reckless tariff rhetoric.
"Many of the farmers who helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency fear becoming pawns in his escalating trade war with China, which threatens markets for soybeans, corn and other lifeblood crops in the Upper Midwest," the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Back on March 1, Trump announced new tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. China responded last week by promising to impose 25 percent tariff on more than 100 goods. Many of those goods, including soybeans and pork, are closely associated with states that backed Trump in 2016.
Suddenly, billions of dollars of pork exports are at risk, as well as thousands of jobs attached to that industry.
"It’s going to hurt American farmers, no doubt about it," a 43-year-old dairy farmer announced at a recent Wisconsin town hall. "We were already looking at depressed prices for corn and soybeans before this. There’s no sector that’s showing good numbers.
A stinging editorial in the Quad City Times in Iowa declared that voters had been "conned" by Trump on trade. "Eight of the country's top 10 soybean producers voted for Trump in 2016."
Now he's rewarding those farmers by demanding that they take a massive hit for him. And he's offering nothing but empty promises in return.