>> On the same day that President Trump tweeted tariffs are the greatest, his administration announced $12 billion in aid for farmers and ranchers hit hardest by his trade tactics. Agricultural states, many of whom backed Trump in his 2016 bid, have suffered from retaliatory measures from China, the European Union, and others reacting to Trump's trade war.
Reuters political correspondent, James Oliphant.>> Well, critics have seized upon this as evidence that Trump and the White House know that Trump's trade war isn't working. That there are victims that are being left in the crossfire here between the United States and China. And this might be viewed in some circles as an admission of defeat.
The Trump administration is never going to say that the trade war isn't working. They're casting this relief package as basically something to tide these farmers over until Trump's real plan kicks in. And that plan is to bring China and other countries to the table and force them to negotiate better terms for American farmers.
>> And the farmers will be the biggest beneficiary.>>
>> Watch. Just be a little patient.>> But proposing federal subsidies for farmers is likely to place Congressional Republicans, who typically resist government assistance programs, in a tough spot. Some were quick to pounce. Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, this trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House’s plan is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches.
Senator Rand Paul tweeted, quote, if tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers, the answer is remove the tariffs. Democratic Representative Jackie Speier of California, a major agricultural state, tweeted, okay POTUS, you created this mess with your trade war and now you are going to spend $12 billion to placate the farmers that voted for you.
The programs, which include direct payments to farmers, trade promotion, and food purchases, do not need Congressional approval. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the programs were a short-term solution to give President Trump time to negotiate trade deals.