Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Bottom line MORE (R-Kan.) said this week that President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection 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."
"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 SasseBen SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay CBO releases cost estimate of Biden plan Real conservatives must make a choice 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."