“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to put a band-aid on a self-inflicted wound,” Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, wrote on Twitter. “This bailout compounds bad policy with more bad policy.”
Farmers have borne the brunt of Mr. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs, which is already costing American producers billions of dollars and threatens to inflict political pain on Republicans in farm states in the midterm elections in November.
“Tariffs are the greatest!” Mr. Trump declared on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that — and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the ‘piggy bank’ that’s being robbed. All will be Great!”
The European Union, Canada, Mexico, China and other countries have responded to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum and $34 billion worth of Chinese products by imposing taxes of their own. They have often targeted farm country, the source of some of America’s biggest exports and an important political base for the president. American soybeans, pork, sugar, orange juice, cherries and other products now face tariffs in foreign markets that make their products less desirable.
At a speech in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said Americans should “just be a little patient” with the pain they may be feeling from the trade war, arguing that his actions were forcing other countries to the negotiating table to cut deals that would be better for them in the long run.
“They don’t want to have those tariffs put on them — they’re all coming to see us — and the farmers will be the biggest beneficiary,” Mr. Trump said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. “We’re opening up markets. You watch what’s going to happen.”
Some farm groups praised the move, albeit as a short-term solution.
“We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now, and this will buy us some time,” said Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing.”