Farmers Union agrees with Pres. Trump on trade policy, but not tactics
An unconventional president finds support in some unexpected places, but some who agree with Pres. Trump's position on trade have concerns with his approach.
That's the case for National Farmers Union, who shares the president's concern about a trade imbalance.
Farmers Union is a nonpartisan group, that historically has leaned a little left of center.
They were against NAFTA when it was first proposed in the '90s, and agree with Pres. Trump from the standpoint that they would like to get rid of the country's trade deficit.
"But, and this is a really big but, I think we disagree vehemently with the approach he has taken, the tactics he's used. I don't think the world's greatest negotiator should start negotiations by slapping the other party across the face a couple times and then say let's sit down and talk," said Roger Johnson, NFU President.
Farmers Union would like to see NAFTA re-negotiated, but kept in place at this point. Johnson said there would be "deep damage" to withdraw without a new deal being made.
There's another area where they have some common ground, and that's government red tape.
Johnson said, "That is a place the president has kept his word in rolling back regulations and there are lots of places where I think that was the thing that needed to happen. But everybody looks at these things from a different perspective."
And in Farmers Union's perspective, the Trump administration is rolling back regulations they supported, that they say would have protected small family farmers.
So while Farmers Union agrees with Pres. Trump on some issues, there remain many places of disagreement, including tax reform.
Johnson said, "The premise they started with wasn't just to redistribute the tax burden, it was in fact to add $1.5 billion dollars to the debt. That's a real problem. That's a problem that ultimately without any question will affect future farm bills because there's going to be less money to spend."
Other farm groups like American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen's Beef Association have supported tax reform, saying provisions related to the estate tax would help farmers and ranchers.