Farmers feel like "pawns" being used by Trump over China trade deal: Republican senator

"So, we’re hanging in there with the president as opposed to hanging separately.”

Published May 11, 2019 9:29AM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Xi Jinping (AP/Getty/Salon)
Donald Trump; Xi Jinping (AP/Getty/Salon)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Sunday that he will be increasing tariffs on Chinese imports has been making the financial markets nervous. And according to a report by the "Washington Post", it is worrying farmers and some midwestern GOP senators as well.

One of those Republican senators is Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, who told the Post, “There’s a lot of feeling in farm country we’re being used as pawns in this whole business. We will benefit tremendously if we get a good deal; so, we’re hanging in there with the president as opposed to hanging separately.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican who is seeking reelection in 2020, told the Post that if Trump “gets a deal, awesome. If he doesn’t, it’s going to hurt.” And farmers in Iowa, according to Ernst, are “losing their patience, yeah, but they want to see a deal.”

Although Trump is wildly unpopular in major coastal cities such as New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle, he has enjoyed much stronger support in rural America—and midwestern states with a lot of farming such as Kansas and Iowa are crucial to his reelection campaign. Kansas elected a centrist Democratic governor in 2018: Laura Kelly, although it is still a deep red state and has gone Republican in countless presidential elections.

Iowa, however, is a swing state that went to Democrat Barack Obama in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 but went to Trump in 2016—and Ernst is among the GOP senators who pundits consider vulnerable in 2020.

For Trump, convincing rural voters in farming areas in the Midwest that he will be looking out for their interests in 2020 is crucial. On Sunday, the president tweeted that imposing tariffs on China has been “partially responsible for our great economic results.”

Trump added, “The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”

By Alex Henderson

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