Amid trade fight, Trump says he'll 'make it up' to farmers


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump acknowledged farmers could be adversely affected by the escalating tariff dispute with China, but he promised to make it up to them, saying they "will be better off than they ever were."

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting today, Trump addressed the Chinese threat to slap tariffs on soybeans and other agriculture staples grown in rural America, a move that could hit Midwestern farmers, many of whom are strong supporters of the president.

"If during the course of the negotiation they want to hit the farmers because they think that hits me. I wouldn't say that's nice, but I tell you our farmers are great patriots," Trump said. "They understand that they're doing this for the country. We'll make it up to them. In the end, they're going to be much stronger than they are right now."

China is threatening the tariffs in response to Trump moving to enact protectionist measures as punishment for Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property. The U.S. bought more than $500 billion in goods from China last year and now is planning or considering penalties on some $150 billion of those imports.

As the economic saber-rattling shakes global markets, Trump said today he had a good relationship with China and with President Xi Jinping, but repeated his claim that China has been "taking advantage of the United States for many years." He added he doesn't blame China, but American leaders for creating a "lopsided" set of trade rules.

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