A CNN host gave a soybean farmer three swings at a chance to criticize President Donald Trump’s trade policy, but in the end it was the host who struck out.
On Wednesday CNN’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed soybean farmer Mark Jackson. Trump has slapped tariffs on Chinese imports, resulting in Chinese retaliation that has sapped soybean sales.
China is targeting our farmers, who they know I love & respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the U.S. They are being vicious in what will be their failed attempt. We were being nice – until now! China made $517 Billion on us last year.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
In response, the Trump administration has authorized about $12 billion to be used to help farmers ride out the storm until Trump and China can reach a new trade policy.
“Farmers are resilient. They understand that China has not been playing fair,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last month, according to CNBC. “They are patriots, but they also know that patriotism can’t pay the bills and that’s where they are concerned.”
Trump has also worked to increase soybean sales to Europe, as well as liquified natural gas.
European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately. Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
With that as the background, Baldwin went sniffing for concerns about Trump and his policies.
“Are you supportive of what the president’s doing?” Baldwin asked on “CNN Newsroom” on Wednesday, according to TheBlaze. “And you know we talked a lot, I talked to a pork farmer last week about, you know, this whole $15 billion bailout for a lot of farmers who needed it.”
“Are you in support of the president and do you have any concerns that he’s fighting this on multiple fronts?” she added. “Are you worried about that hitting you long-term?”
Jackson would neither pretend there was not a problem nor criticize Trump.
“Yeah I mean everyone’s concerned. As far as the direction that it’s going now, I think, as far as whether we support the president or not, it’s a matter that the hand has been dealt and I think at this point in time, let’s look at the bigger picture,” he said.
Jackson then showed that he understood the bigger picture.
“That China is, they are abusing the intellectual property rights and there are a lot of other factors involved here,” he added.
“Soybeans are just a $14 billion element in a $300 billion plus maneuver here,” Jackson explained. “So I think from that perspective we are probably the biggest target because we are the smallest population, given that 99 percent of the people in the United States do not farm.”
Baldwin wanted one more shot at Trump.
“But, Mark, let me just jump in quickly. Last question, you say it’s the hand you’ve been dealt, but the hand is that of this president. Do you support this president and what he is doing?” Baldwin said.
Jackson wasn’t budging.
“At this point in time, yes, I definitely support what he’s doing,” Jackson said. “And moving forward, I think, for a long-term solution to a better agriculture, I think that effort is there, because there’s only one source of food in this world and that’s the farmer producing it.
“Nearly half, between 40 and 50 percent of the soybeans grown in this world are produced in the United States,” he concluded. “China needs soybeans and they do need ours. It’s just a matter of what the final price will be that we receive.”
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