Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis can’t bring themselves to say a bad word about Trump – even when his policies put Florida businesses, jobs and families at risk. In April, DeSantis insisted the trade war wasn’t real because China hadn’t hit soybeans or beef with tariffs – and two days later, the Chinese did just that. Putnam’s silence is even less defensible – Florida’s farmers could lose everything in Trump’s trade war, but their Agriculture Commissioner doesn’t seem to care. Whatever happened to Florida First, Adam?
Florida Chamber of Commerce: Trump Trade War “Could Put Florida’s Economy at Risk and Negatively Impact Consumers, Families and Jobs.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “The Florida Chamber of Commerce, a statewide business group closely aligned with Gov. Rick Scott, warned Tuesday that new tariffs could spark a trade war and hurt Florida jobs and families. President Donald Trump has proposed steel and aluminum tariffs on some of America’s closest allies, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union. ‘The increasing prospect of a trade war could put Florida’s economy at risk and negatively impact consumers, families and jobs,’ the Chamber warned in a statement. The group said unfair trade practices by ‘bad actors’ are best addressed ‘in a targeted and focused manner.'” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/5/18]
New York Times: Putnam “Has Touted Mr. Trump’s Hard Line on Trade, Even Though It May Result in Retributive Tariffs From China on Florida Citrus and Other Crops.” According to the New York Times, “Adam Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner and the first major Republican to announce his candidacy for governor, grew up in his family’s citrus farming and cattle ranching business. He has touted Mr. Trump’s hard line on trade, even though it may result in retributive tariffs from China on Florida citrus and other crops. ‘Nobody has ever gone to bat for Florida farmers and fought against illegal trade practices like President Trump,’ Mr. Putnam said last week at a breakfast with Republican activists at a Cuban restaurant in Miami.” [New York Times, 4/8/18]
DeSantis Says He Opposes Tariffs, But Thought They Were Just a Negotiating Technique. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “This is the Art of the Deal,” agreed DeSantis. “I don’t want to see where we move to high tariffs across the board. But I don’t think the president wants that. I think he looks at the imbalances of the tariff situation where even our allies will charge exorbitant tariffs just for us to access these markets. So I think he’s doing it as a tool to bring tariffs down and give American companies more access to foreign markets which would obviously be a good thing.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/11/18]
April 2: DeSantis Downplayed Trump’s Trade War: “It Didn’t Go After Really Significant Exports Like Soybeans and Beef.” In an interview on FOX Business, DeSantis was asked, “What’s your take on Beijing’s retaliation this morning?” DeSantis said, “It seems that it was at least somewhat targeted in the sense it didn’t go after really significant exports like soybeans and beef. These seem to be products that the Chinese could probably without, or at least do with it in smaller measures. And so I think this is another escalation. My hope is at this point that the Trump administration will be able to negotiate with China to try to ameliorate some of the outstanding issues, give us more access to some of the Chinese markets, maybe address some of the intellectual property theft. But I think if this keeps escalating that’s probably not going to be good for either side economically.” [YouTube, FOX Business, 00:30, 4/2/18]
April 4: Associated Press Headline: In escalating trade war, China targets US soybeans, beef, other goods. [Associated Press, 4/4/18]