Ohio Farmer: I Voted For Trump And "I'm Not Going To Be Quiet" About Impact of Trade War


Ohio farmer Christopher Gibbs said that he supported and voted for President Trump, however, decided to get off the Trump train after the Helsinki summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin. In an interview with CNN's Kate Bolduan, Gibbs said Trump is using terms like "patriots" to describe farmers hurt by the trade war with China because he wants them to "be quiet."

"I voted for the president just because of that," Gibbs said Wednesday on CNN. "But I was on the Trump train. I was off the Trump train, back and forth. I finally got off at Helsinki. That was a mess, to me I couldn't stand the waffling and all of that with Putin. So I'm off the Trump train."

"Where I'm going from now, I've got to protect my business," he said. "A minute ago, the president -- you played a clip that said we were patriots. I'll tell you what, to me, that's just a design to make me continue to be quiet. And I'm not going to be quiet."

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: But some folks who aren't feeling Trump's optimism right now are American farmers and they are stuck in the middle of all of this.

Remember, last summer, I spoke with Christopher Gibbs, an Ohio farmer who said Trump's trade policies were hurting him and that he was not going to stay quiet about it. Listen to that interview.


CHRISTOPHER GIBBS, FARMER: Farmers don't run. We don't spook. We don't hide. That's fine. But that doesn't mean we can't speak out on policy that is pretty much ill-advised, from my point of view.

Hey, hey, I can take it, sure. But I don't have to be quiet about it. The president calls it like he sees it. I'm going to call it like I see it.


BOLDUAN: And Christopher Gibbs joins me once again from Ohio.

Good to see you, Christopher. Thank you for being here.

GIBBS: Hi, Kate. Thanks for having me, in sunny in Ohio, for once.

BOLDUAN: For once, as we were discussing. You call it like you see it.

That's what people appreciate about our last conversation and the pieces you've written for your paper. How are you seeing it today, right now?

GIBBS: Well, we're in a freefall out here in agriculture. We've seen 30 percent decrease in the price of soybeans.

The markets work in three different ways. It's like a three-legged stool. Technicals, this and that. There's also the fundamentals, which is supply and demand. But the third leg is market confidence. And if the technicals are X and the fundamentals are Y, then market confidence says that the markets should move or stay static in certain predictable behavior.

And with the geopolitical turmoil that the president has thrown into the mix over the last year, the markets just don't have anywhere to go. So they're just sitting and hiding. We've seen a little bit of bump up in the last couple of days but other than that, we're hurting.

BOLDUAN: In a free-for-all.

With that in mind, let me play you something that the president said this week that really stuck out to me and I wanted to ask you about.


TRUMP: We love our farmers. We take care of our farmers. Our farmers have been incredible. No country could get in the way of our farmers. Our farmers are great patriots and they've done a fantastic job. Our farmers are going to be very well taken care of.


BOLDUAN: The government paid out $12 billion in assistance to help farmers last year. Now they're trying to plan another round something like $15 billion. What do you say to that, Christopher?

GIBBS: Well, the same thing I did before.

And I need to put a clarifying on this. I ended up taking the money, so -- I had to take it. It was $20,000 to me, $14,000 of it went to repair a tractor transmission, $2,000 of it went to a nonprofit or two, and the rest of it back to taxes. I didn't take it and buy a boat with it.

What I said at that time works today as well. It was an indication that the president's policy wasn't working. Or certainly wasn't working fast enough. Now the president comes back and wants to put an additional amount of money in our pocket.

And we have to understand where that money is coming from. Up until yesterday, up until yesterday, the president has been very clear that all of these tariff dollars that he wants to transfer to farmers have been coming from China, Mexico, so forth, but primarily from China. That's just not true. It's just not true.

Those monies, those tariff dollars come directly from American importers, from American companies that hire American workers that pay American taxes. And when those dollars -- when you buy goods from China to send out to U.S. consumers, those companies pay that, and then they turn around and push that out to consumers to pay.

So the president might push out money to farmers, but let be clear in where it's coming from, and let's let the taxpayer know it's not coming from China. They need to know it. It's appreciated by farmers, for sure, but we would rather have trade. We would rather have our markets back.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's for sure. I mean, we talked last time. You voted for President Trump. You liked his -- I remember you saying you looked his can-do, get-it-done attitude. In this moment you say you're in a free fall. What is your message to him?

GIBBS: Well, my message is that, certainly, I did. And I'll say it again. I voted for the president just because of that. But I was on the Trump train. I was off the Trump train, back and forth. I finally got off at Helsinki. That was a mess, to me I couldn't stand the waffling and all of that with Putin. So I'm off the Trump train.

Where I'm going from now, I've got to protect my business. A minute ago, the president -- you played a clip that said we were patriots. I'll tell you what, to me, that's just a design to make me continue to be quiet. And I'm not going to be quiet.

BOLDUAN: You know what, Christopher, that is actually something --


GIBBS: I have to protect my family.

BOLDUAN: I have to ask you, that is so interesting that you heard that and brought that up. That is something I have also heard, if we want to call these chapters.

Something new about this chapter, I've heard the president and other Republicans talk about this in terms of sacrifice and patriotism.

There's a Senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, who spoke to this directly this week. Listen to this, please. I do want to get your reaction. I think this is important.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): When I'm home in Arkansas, I hear from farmers who are worried about opening up new markets and getting their products to market. But they also understand that China is a serious competitor to the United States and wants to displace us around the world. And they look at the sacrifices that airmen and soldiers make around the world to ensure our long-term prosperity and security.


BOLDUAN: You speaking out against the trade war, is that unpatriotic, Christopher?

GIBBS: No, it's certainly not unpatriotic at all. I'm not going to have my -- certainly not going to have my patriotism questioned. I'm not sure why the president is even bringing this up.

Listen, for me to be a patriot, the best thing I can do is take care of my family, to take care of my farm, and make sure that I stay viable. Because farmers buy things. They buy things that are manufactured.

By the way, do you know what we buy? We buy things made out of steel, aluminum. So that's our duty.

And why the farming community has to take one in the shorts just so that the president can have a talking point and be tough on China just is a little bit beyond me.

BOLDUAN: I always appreciate your perspective. It is great to see you again. Thank you for coming in. Let's talk soon.

GIBBS: More than welcome. Take care.

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