‘Trade War’ Talk Trumps Pence-Ricketts Get-Together

Omaha, NE.—Under the heading timing is everything, Vice President Mike Pence’s Tuesday fundraiser for Gov. Pete Ricketts appears to be bad timing at best.

Planned weeks in advance, Pence’s downtown Omaha stop comes just a matter of days after President Trump announced a potential “trade war” by placing a 25 percent tariff (which many consider nothing more than a tax) on foreign steel and a 10 percent tariff on foreign aluminum.

A decision leaving Nebraska’s farmers holding the bag, according to the 60 thousand family-strong Nebraska Farm Bureau. “Today, more than 30 percent of U.S. gross farm income is derived from our ability to export agricultural commodities,” says NFB President Steve Nelson. “Retaliatory actions will most certainly target U.S. agricultural commodities, many of which are produced here in Nebraska.”

Yes, the NFB’s 93 county-wide organization, which endorsed Ricketts in 2014, is furious. You see it was just four years ago (see video below) on election night when Ricketts promised the NFB he couldn’t wait to “grow agriculture…we’ll get started tomorrow.”

Fast forward four years, another election year, and Mr. Trump—Rickett’s has called Trump “forward thinking“— is being scolded loud and clear by Nelson who fired off a one-page letter addressed specifically to Mr. Trump:

“It has been very well documented that your historic path to the White House came directly through rural America. While your thoughts on trade where well known by farmers and ranchers, it would be very dangerous to assume it was the focus of their support. Mr. President, please do not turn your back on the farm and ranch families who depend on international markets and who rely on you to make wise decisions that don’t put their economic future in jeopardy.”

News Channel Nebraska has asked the Governor’s office the following questions:

  • Does Governor Ricketts agree with President Trump’s recent comments regarding a trade war?
  • Does the governor intend to express his concerns about a trade war with Vice President Pence when they visit on Tuesday?

Late Monday afternoon a spokesman for Ricketts issued the following statement to NCN: 

Since his very first meeting with President Trump, Governor Ricketts has advocated for Nebraska on trade issues with this administration.  The Governor has already shared with the Trump Administration about the potential impact the steel tariffs may have on Nebraska businesses and the possible retaliation on Nebraska agricultural products by our trading partners.  The Governor understands that it is a part of a broader negotiation strategy, but wants to ensure that the administration grows agriculture through their trade policy.

The Ricketts campaign has released details of the Pence-Ricketts get-together which finds speeches from both but no indication that the Vice-President will be taking questions from the news media—questions that would undoubtedly pit the NFB against the Trump Administration.

Follow Joe on Twitter and Facebook

Joe Can Be Heard:

Wednesday: Fairbury 8:00am KUTT 99.5-FM

Thursday: Norfolk 8:10am US92-FM, 8:28 KNEN-AM 94.7, Nebraska City 8:55am KBIE 103.1-FM

Friday:  Beatrice 8:10am KWBE 1450-AM, Broken Bow “Breakfast Show” KCNI 1280-AM/KBBM 95.3-FM, Lincoln 7:10am KLIN 1400-AM