Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Trump brags to farmers, avoids specifics on NAFTA and immigration, offers help with rural broadband

Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett
In his speech to an enthusiastic crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Nashville yesterday, President Trump hit on a familiar litany of topics. He "bragged about his accomplishments and cast himself as the leader of a movement restoring respect for the national anthem, the American flag and the forgotten man," Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan report for The Washington Post.

Trump took credit for the booming stock market and economy, and said his tax overhaul bill was a victory for farmers and promised expanded access to broadband in rural areas. "Trump signed an executive order following his speech on rural broadband, aimed at easing the process to put private broadband infrastructure on federal property. "Those towers are going to go up, and you are going to have great, great broadband," he said.The White House described the move, along with a memorandum directing the Interior Department to work on a plan to increase access to its properties for broadband deployment, as 'incremental,' but the start of an effort to make progress on the issue," Zeke Miller reports for The Associated Press.

As expected, Trump steered largely clear of  controversial topics such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and immigration, which helps farmers harvest crops. In an interview before the speech, when RFD-TV asked him what he might do about low crop prices, he blamed them on bad trade agreements. Actually, American farmers have been one of the main beneficiaries of NAFTA. He said in his speech that he would make the agreements fairer.

Chris Clayton reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer, "While some farmers may have wanted to hear more on trade or other topics, the president's speech allowed him to soak up the adulation of an adoring rural audience. Trump said he was pleased to be the first president to speak to the group in more than 25 years, but was disappointed to hear it was the 99th annual meeting." Trump said, "You understand; one hundred is so much cooler, I have to be honest. So I will be back next year."

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