Sunday, January 07, 2018

Trump not expected to say much about trade or immigration in first presidential speech to Farm Bureau in over 25 years

Trump in Valdosta, Ga., Feb. 29, 2016 (Associated Press photo)
When President Trump speaks to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville Monday afternoon, he will address a friendly audience but one that remains wary of him on two linchpins of American agriculture: trade and immigration.

"Trump remains popular in rural America where his deregulatory offensive and tax cuts have won strong support," reports Catherine Boudreau of Politico. "But many farmers attending the federation’s annual convention say they’ll be looking for more specific commitments: They want assurances he won’t withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, or adopt immigration policies that make it harder to hire workers to harvest their crops. His proposed cuts to the popular crop insurance program and to the Agriculture Department budget have also alarmed many. . . . An October poll of 15,000 people living in small towns revealed that his approval rating had slipped to 47 percent."

The White House conducted an advance briefing for reporters on the speech, the first by a president to the convention in more than 25 years. "A senior White House official said that while Trump will reiterate his desire for trade deals he considers fairer to the U.S., the president will focus on other issues. He is not expected to talk much about his immigration agenda either, even as farmers call on Congress to revamp a temporary agricultural guest worker program that critics say is cumbersome and inefficient." But this is Donald Trump, so he may not stick to the script. The speech is scheduled to begin at 3:10 pm. Central Time.

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