- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 19, 2020

President Trump praised America’s farmers on Sunday night for sticking with him during tariff wars that led to last week’s hard-fought trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada, and he joked that his reward was to be impeached by Democratic “lunatics.”

“We’re achieving what no administration has ever achieved before,” Mr. Trump told the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st annual convention in Austin, Texas. “And what do I get out of it? I get impeached, that’s what I get — by these radical Left lunatics. But that’s okay — the farmers are sticking with Trump.”

The president’s impeachment trial begins in earnest in the Senate on Tuesday. But Mr. Trump won’t be in Washington — he plans to travel to an economic conference in Europe to work on more trade agreements.

Mr. Trump has spoken to the Farm Bureau’s convention three years in a row, and this time he delivered the promise that his deal with China will increase U.S. agricultural exports by about $16 billion per year to a total of at least $40 billion annually.

“The deal with China will tear down market barriers and pry open vast new markets for American beef, pork, poultry, seafood, soy beans, rice, dairy, infant formula, animal feed, biotechnology and much, much more,” Mr. Trump told the convention audience. “This is an incredible success for our entire country. And it was your fortitude, your perseverance and your devotion that made it all possible.”

China had targeted U.S. agricultural products for retaliatory tariffs during the two-year dispute. The administration authorized $28 billion in bailouts for farmers and ranchers, and Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies rose 24% for the year ending September 2019.

Still, Mr. Trump said, farmers gave him the support he needed to reach an initial “phase one” deal with Beijing.

“You never backed down,” the president said. “You stayed in the fight. You protected our economy and our security, and together we prevailed. You were always with me. You never even thought of giving up. And we got it done.”

The president said he will sign the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico within a few days. The Senate approved the deal, which is a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement, on Thursday.

Mr. Trump also said he is ordering the withdrawal of an Obama-era “water resources” rule, which he said would have allowed federal government to restrict farmers’ access to water.

“That is why I’m directing the Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule… and to allow states to manage water resources based on their own needs and what farmers and ranchers want,” he said. “Water is the lifeblood of agriculture, and we will always protect your water supply.”

It was Mr. Trump’s 14th visit to Texas since becoming president three years ago. Democrats say the president’s frequent trips are a sign that the GOP is afraid of losing Texas in November.

Mr. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Texas by nine percentage points in 2016. He said Sunday night that he’s confident of capturing the state again.

“Those polls are all saying we’re way higher than we were in ‘16,” the president said.

The president also took swipes at some of the top Democratic presidential contenders, Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as he recited his administration’s gains in U.S. energy production, including ethanol, natural gas and oil. He warned that cutting back on energy production would cost farmers royalty payments from drilling on their land, and would deny them the fuel to operate their farms.

He said Democrats are “taking their cues from socialists like Bernie Sanders, or a fake socialist like ‘Pocahontas.’ She’s actually worse than a socialist, but she doesn’t want to admit it.”

“The Radical Left in Washington wants to demolish these gains,” Mr. Trump said. “They frankly want to destroy your way of life. They are not for the farmer. They are not for our military, they are not for secure borders. They want open borders, they want sanctuary cities.”

He said the far Left wants “to massively raise your taxes, crush your businesses with regulations, take away your healthcare and send bureaucrats to interfere with your property and second guess every decision that you make.”

“There are no better stewards of our precious natural resources than the American farmers, who depend on the land and the environment for their very livelihood,” Mr. Trump said. “You love your land, you’re going to take care of your land, and you don’t need some bureaucrat in Washington telling everybody what the hell to do with your land.”

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