President Donald Trump’s visit to Iowa on Thursday will focus on improving the nation’s workforce, but White House officials say he’ll also take up trade and the impact tariffs are having on farmers while he is in Dubuque County.
The president’s 11 a.m. visit to Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta will be his second to Iowa since taking office — and his first to the Dubuque area.
White House officials said Wednesday the president is coming here to build on an executive order he signed last week aimed at encouraging U.S. companies to provide for additional job training, apprenticeships and other assistance to help build the nation’s workforce.
The president’s visit also is seen as a boon to U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, who will join him.
Blum faces a tough re-election battle in Iowa’s 1st District, which includes Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Vice President Mike Pence was in the state to lend a hand two weeks ago.
The White House said Trump would meet with a range of business officials and political leaders, including Gov. Kim Reynolds.
The president’s visit comes two days after the Agriculture Department announced a $12 billion emergency aid package to help farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs brought on by the administration’s new tariffs this month on China.
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The assistance leans on a Depression-era law and will provide direct assistance to producers, as well as a program to buy surplus commodities and a separate effort to find alternative trade markets. Details are expected in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, Trump was meeting with congressional leaders on the subject. He also had a session scheduled with a top European Union leader on the trade issue.
The president took to Twitter on Wednesday accusing China of “targeting our farmers, who they know I love & respect, as a way of getting me to continue allowing them to take advantage of the U.S.”
Iowa’s trade concerns are not only are a threat to the state’s economy, but they also have put Republican politicians in a spot.
For the most part, they’ve urged a quick resolution to the trade conflict. And Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday the president needs to provide some reassurance — and demonstrate results.
“He needs to say things that relieve the anxiety and bring hope or evidence that progress is being made on these various issues,” Grassley said.
White House officials also said the president would be meeting with the mayor of Marshalltown, which sustained significant damage from a tornado last week.
James Q. Lynch of The Gazette contributed to this article.