President Donald Trump spoke to thousands of FFA members at the organization’s national convention in Indianapolis Saturday. He touted his trade deals and economic policy trying to convince attendees that his trade policies are helping, not hurting, American farmers.
United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took to the stage prior to the president and called Trump a huge advocate for farmers.
“Just like you and FFA, he knows the American dream and he knows it takes focus, determination and perseverance,” says Perdue. “And you know what else? He gets agriculture.”
Trump says he is helping the future farmers in the audience with policy changes, including the year-round sale of E-15.
“And just like I promised, we are ensuring that ethanol will remain a vital part of America’s energy future,” says Trump.
However, the U.S. farm economy appears to be suffering from the president’s trade war, with many farmers finding it harder to sell this year’s large crops.
Trump says he is working out a better trade deal with China for American farmers at a time when reports show soybean exports from the U.S. to the Chinese are down about 97 percent from last year.
“After decades of economic abuse, we are finally fighting back as a country. We’re not going to take it anymore,” Trump says.
While most of his speech focused on how he believes his policies have impacted farmers, Trump got political at times, even attacking U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“Although maybe Elizabeth Warren is gone,” he says. “She may be gone, she may be gone. What a sad thing happened to her. Turned out I had more Indian blood in me than she has.”
Pittsburgh Shooting Address
The president also addressed the Saturday shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that has killed eleven people and injured others, calling it an act of hate.
“This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable,” says Trump.
He condemned what happened in Pittsburgh and says there should be no acceptance to acts of such nature.
“There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice, says Trump to the audience. “You know that, you know that very well.”
The president invited local Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow and Pastor Thom O’Leary onto the stage to pray for the victims and their families. In his prayer, Rabbi Sendrow says the shooting should be seen as an act of hate.
“We pray today for moral clarity. Let us not dismiss this as an act of insanity, but let us see it for what it is, an act of evil,” he says.
President Trump says the shooter should receive the harshest possible punishment.
“And we’re going to have to come out with very, very powerful punishment for these horrible people that do these things,” says Trump. “We’re going to have to come out with the ultimate punishment.”
He says to the audience that American’s should stand up for what they believe, but in a civil way that embraces each other’s common destiny as a country.
“And it doesn’t mean that we can’t fight hard and be strong and say what’s on our mind, but we have to always remember those elements, says Trump. “We have to remember the elements of love and dignity and respect and so many others.”
FFA – formerly called Future Farmers of America – hosts one of the largest conventions in Indianapolis each year.