GOP senator: Trump said he never heard of anyone who didn’t want a payment from the government

GOP senator: Trump said he never heard of anyone who didn’t want a payment from the government
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Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranLive coverage: Barr faces Senate panel as he prepares release of Mueller report Hillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America's wireless industry — House panel approves bill restoring net neutrality | FTC asks for more help to police tech | Senate panel advances bill targeting illegal robocalls Senate panel advances bill penalizing illegal robocalls MORE (R-Kan.) said this week that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE pushed back against GOP lawmakers arguing that farmers didn't want a payment from the government, saying he'd "never heard of anybody" who didn't want one. 

Moran told The Associated Press that during a broad discussion on trade last month, lawmakers told the president "that our farmers want markets, and not really a payment from government."

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"I'm surprised, I've never heard of anybody who didn't want a payment from government," Trump replied, according to Moran. 

The anecdote from Moran was reported the same day the Trump administration announced that that it would offer upward of $12 billion in emergency relief to U.S. farmers hit hard by retaliatory tariffs from the administration's protracted trade battle.

Agriculture groups and lawmakers have repeatedly called on Trump to stop imposing the tariffs because their products, including pork and soybeans, are being targeted for retaliation by top U.S. trading partners.

Certain groups have said they will lose tens of millions of dollars due to tariffs on their exports.

Many GOP lawmakers criticized the move from the Trump administration on Tuesday, with Nebraska Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseAfrica's women can change a continent: Will Ivanka give them her full support? Senate needs to stand up to Trump's Nixonian view of the Fed GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback MORE (R) saying, "America's farmers don't want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world."

"This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again," he added. 

Trump doubled down on Tuesday, though, claiming in a speech in Kansas City, Mo., that farmers would be the “biggest beneficiary” of his escalating trade disputes with countries such as China and the European Union. 

"Watch," Trump said. "We’re opening up markets. You watch what’s going to happen. Just be a little patient."