With about 63 million Twitter followers, President Trump can’t be denied the opportunity to share his interpretation of reality. When his reality lines up with evidence favorable to Trump, his Twitter followers will hear about it.
In a June 29 Tweet, Trump wrote:
"The highly respected Farm Journal has just announced my Approval Rating with our great Farmers at 74%, and that despite all of the Fake & Corrupt News that they are forced to endure. Farmers have been unfairly treated for many years - and that is turning around FAST!”
In my view, Trump is like Teflon in rural America in the sense that his trade policies have burned farmers, but their support for him continues “strong and steady,” the Farm Journal story states.
He seems to tease growers with exclamations of coming good times in spite of all current evidence to the contrary. He unapologetically continues to use tariffs as a weapon against U.S. trading partners to leverage progress toward policy goals.
China, an important buyer of U.S. farm products, has slapped U.S. fruit with retaliatory tariffs that have limited sales for more than a year.
U.S. fruit exports to China slumped by more than 70% in the June through April period, compared with the previous year.
But will Trump’s China strategy pay off in the end?
More tweets from Trump’s account on June 29:
“I had a great meeting with President Xi of China yesterday, far better than expected. I agreed not to increase the already existing Tariffs that we charge China while we continue to negotiate. China has agreed that, during the negotiation, they will begin purchasing large amounts of agricultural product from our great Farmers. At the request of our High Tech companies, and President Xi, I agreed to allow Chinese company Huawei to buy product from them which will not impact our National Security. Importantly, we have opened up negotiations again with China as our relationship with them continues to be a very good one. The quality of the transaction is far more important to me than speed. I am in no hurry, but things look very good! There will be no reduction in the Tariffs currently being charged to China.”
What does it mean when Trump says “China will begin purchasing large amounts of agricultural product from our great farmers”?
Will that promise mean anything to fresh produce growers?
As noted by Farm Journal’s poll, Trump’s biggest supporters are farmers. Imagine if he actually delivers on some of his promises for agriculture?
And even if he doesn’t, his earnest cheeriness on Twitter could still hold sway with his supporters when the 2020 race comes around.