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Secretary of State Pompeo Goes to Iowa, Talks Agriculture

State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers opening remarks to the Meeting of Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 6, 2019.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Iowa Monday amidst a trade war with China that continues to hit Iowa’s agriculture sector. Pompeo says the trip was the idea of U.S. Ambassador to China and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad who is making the trip with him. Pompeo says the visit is an effort to help explain the role of the U.S. state department.

“We’ll talk about Iowa agriculture,” Pompeo tells Iowa Public Radio. “And how it is that the Trump administration – including the state department – are working on behalf of Iowa farmers.”

In the last two months, many Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination have spent a lot of time in Iowa ripping the Trump administration for its trade war with China and the effects it has on Iowa agriculture. A recent study from Iowa State University found the state’s losses could be up to $2 billion because of the trade war.

President Trump said after walking away from a deal with North Korea’s leader he’s not afraid to do the same with China. Pompeo says the president’s strategies don’t concern him.

“Frankly, this administration’s been very effective at negotiating with the Chinese,” Pomopeo says. “We’re the first administration to take this on. It’s a difficult problem. But there was no other path for Iowa farmers."

Pompeo will meet with Governor Kim Reynolds during his trip. He’ll also talk with members of Future Farmers of America, leaders at the agriculture division at Dow DuPont and will address the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.