In the News

The Kansas City Star
Bryan Lowry

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran worries that President Donald Trump’s escalating fight with China over trade isn’t just a tough negotiation strategy.

The Kansas Republican was one of several state and federal officials to attend the General Aviation Manufacturers Association meeting at Garmin headquarters in Olathe Friday.

The aviation industry meeting happened at time when Trump has engaged China, the biggest importer of U.S. aviation products, in an escalating fight over trade — a move that makes Moran nervous because two of Kansas’ biggest industries are caught in the crosshairs.

“There has to be great concern as we suffer results from the tariffs that it is going to be damaging to aviation and to the agriculture economies. That will impact my state of Kansas in a significant way,” Moran said.

“There has to be great concern as we suffer results from the tariffs that it is going to be damaging to aviation and to the agriculture economies. That will impact my state of Kansas in a significant way,” Moran said.

The Missouri Democratic Party attacked Hawley Friday, saying that his support for "these damaging tariffs is a slap in the face to the farmers who fuel Missouri's economy."

Hawley contends that farmers will benefit from a more equitable trade deal with China in the future.

“We’ve got to draw a line in the sand for agriculture… My top concern is to protect our farms and our farm families," Hawley said.

Moran, on the other hand, thinks Republican lawmakers need to put pressure on the White House to chart a more cautious course.

“We need to make certain that Republicans do not walk away from the importance of trade and exports,” Moran said. “If Republicans walk away from it, we don’t have anything to put it back together again."

Moran’s fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, who represents Wichita, a city heavily dependent on the aviation industry, had a less dire view of the situation.

“We’re not in a trade war. We want to make sure we avoid that,” Estes said.

“Unfortunately, the way these trade negotiations happen we’ve seen in country after country you have some tit for tat back and forth, you have a threat of retaliation. We just need to stand up,” he said.

Trump recorded a robocall on Estes’ behalf last year to help the Republican in a surprisingly close special election to replace Mike Pompeo after he joined Trump’s administration.

Estes praised Trump’s ability as a negotiator, but admitted the he would necessarily employ the same tactics as the president.

“I’m not sure that I would always use the same methods he uses. I mean, he’s a big negotiator," Estes said. "That’s what he’s been in his life. And he takes a different approach sometimes.”

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