As farmer incomes fall, bankruptcies and suicides rise, Trump’s Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue couldn’t stop laughing at his own joke mocking them as “whiners.”
August 31, 2019

On AM Joy this morning, host Joy Reid ran through the hurt Trump has inflicted on farmers. There’s the trade war that has hurt their exports to China and, with his recent granting of waivers to “dozens of oil refineries,” allowing them to stop blending ethanol into their fuel, Trump just shrank the corn market even further. Roughly 40% of the U.S. corn crop has previously gone to ethanol, Reid said.

“The farm recession is here,” Reid added as she read from a New York Times column by Paul Krugman that put the blame for “farmers’ falling incomes, rising delinquency rates and surging bankruptcies” squarely on Trump policies. She also cited a Forbes report that farmer suicides are up. Then we saw the pain for ourselves in a clip of a dairy farmer in Minnesota who began sobbing as she talked about being forced to sell all her cows.

Out-of-touch doesn’t begin to describe the Trump administration’s behavior. Reid showed a Trump tweet saying, “The Farmers are going to be so happy” with the new ethanol waivers and calling them “Great for all!”

But Perdue took the callousness cake. Reid played a clip of Perdue turning farmers’ suffering into a joke earlier this month. “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar,” Perdue “quipped.” He pounded his fist on the table, he found that so funny.

But wait, there’s more. Guest Jane Kleeb, Nebraska’s Democratic Party chairwoman, noted that Trump has also allowed oil companies to seize farm and ranch land, through eminent domain, in order to build pipelines. “Farmers and ranchers are getting hit left and right and you are definitely feeling the anger and the frustration coming up to the surface,” she said. She cited a “scathing press release” from Nebraska's corn board blasting Trump and the Republican Party.

However, Kleeb also signaled that Democrats can’t just rely on farmers getting fed up with Trump and Republicans. “We actually have to put a megaphone up to their issues. We have to keep on putting up policies, we have to show up, like a lot of our candidates are beginning to do. We need to do that more and more and more,” she urged.

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