Trump tells USDA chief farmers won’t be hurt by China trade dispute

Trump tells USDA chief farmers won’t be hurt by China trade dispute
© Greg Nash

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueSenate buzz grows for Abrams after speech electrifies Dems Energy Secretary Rick Perry is designated survivor for 2019 State of the Union Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union MORE said on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE told him farmers will not be hurt by an ongoing trade dispute with China.

Speaking at a town hall discussion in Ohio, Perdue said that the recently announced Chinese tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products could be concerning to farmers but noted that the president said they shouldn’t worry.

"I talked to the president as recently as last night," Perdue said. "And he said, 'Sonny, you can assure your farmers out there that we're not going to allow them to be the casualties if this trade dispute escalates. We're going to take care of our American farmers. You can tell them that directly.'"

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The new tariffs target a number of U.S. goods, including whiskey and soybeans.

China’s latest tariffs come after Trump announced $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods in an attempt to make them reconsider how they handle intellectual property.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyKlobuchar: ObamaCare a 'missed opportunity' to address drug costs Just one in five expect savings from Trump tax law: poll Divisions emerge over House drug price bills MORE (R-Iowa) warned that Chinese tariffs could greatly hurt farmers.

"The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself. But farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country," Grassley said in a statement.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Trump faces growing pressure over Boeing safety concerns MORE (D-Ill.) said that Illinois farmers — the largest producer of soybeans — will be heavily hurt by China’s retaliation to Trump’s tariffs.

"Illinois’ farmers now join DACA recipients as the latest victims of President Trump’s temper," Durbin said in a tweet. "Illinois is our nation's’ largest producer of soybeans, and a top producer of pork, and will feel China’s retaliation to threats of a trade war more than most. America cannot move forward in a blizzard of tweets and wild threats form this president."

China’s tariffs have renewed fears of an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, though Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. is not in a trade war with China.