Trump is hurting farmers across America with his trade war — and the GOP is letting him.
A farmer who voted for Trump is speaking out against his destructive trade war, and against the Republicans who are invoking patriotism to try to silence critics of Trump's policy.
Christopher Gibbs — a soybean farmer from Ohio who says he voted for Trump in 2016, but is no longer "on the Trump train" — spoke to CNN on Wednesday morning.
"I've got to protect my business," Gibbs told anchor Kate Bolduan, explaining his opposition to Trump's tariffs and the resulting trade war they have set off.
American farmers have been unable to sell their products on the world market and are facing increased bankruptcies as a result.
Gibbs also took issue with Trump referring to "great Patriot farmers," as he did Tuesday, as a defense of his failed policy.
"To me that's just a design to make me continue to be quiet, and I'm not going to be quiet," Gibbs said. "Being a patriot is this. I've got to protect my family."
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Monday also invoked patriotism to defend the tariffs. Cotton claimed that he thought farmers suffering from the trade war were "willing to bear some of the sacrifices in the short term" — but also said those sacrifices were "minimal" compared to "the sacrifices soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines make around the world."
Bolduan also asked Gibbs about Cotton's remarks. "You speaking out against the trade war — is that unpatriotic, Christopher?" she said.
"No, it's certainly not unpatriotic at all," Gibbs replied. "I'm certainly not going to have my patriotism questioned, and I'm not sure why the president's even bringing this up."
"For me to be a patriot, the best thing I can do is to take care of my family, to take care of my farm, and make sure that I stay viable," he added.
Gibbs also pointed out that when they are able to freely sell their products, farmers buy American products like steel. Trump has claimed his trade war is defending the American steel industry, but it's actually had harmful ripple effects for farmers and a wide variety of American businesses.
"Why the farming community has to take one in the shorts just so the president can have a talking point and be tough on China, just is a little bit beyond me," Gibbs concluded.
The trade war has hurt American industry, particularly farmers, which is why many have been speaking out against the wrongheaded policy.
And when Trump and his fellow Republicans start arguing about patriotism, it shows they can't defend the policy on the merits.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.