- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2020

President Trump announced a $19 billion program on Friday to help farmers battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump previously doled out billions of dollars to sustain farmers amid his trade war with China, where the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Now, the administration says it will offer $16 billion in direct payments to farmers who’ve been hit by the pandemic. The U.S. Agriculture Department will also buy $3 billion worth of farm products to re-distribute to food banks as unemployment claims mount and families go hungry.

“You have our farmers’ backs,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Mr. Trump.

Farmers have been a key constituency for Mr. Trump, who faces reelection in November.



The president frequently hails their resiliency despite ripples from his trade war with China. Farmers received over $20 billion from Mr. Trump amid the dispute with China in 2019.

A phase-one trade deal struck in January calls for China to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. farm products per year, though it’s unclear if Beijing will be able to meet that commitment after the coronavirus erupted in Wuhan, China.

Mr. Trump said farmer will hang tough.

“They just do what they have to do,” Mr. Trump said Friday.

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