President Donald Trump has notched few big wins on trade, but he has scored some incremental victories that help key swing-state constituencies — from Maine lobstermen to Wisconsin dairy farmers and Florida produce growers. And with the election just a month away, administration officials are making sure to tout those efforts.
Trump has reminded voters at campaign rallies, in tweets and through television ads that trade has been a centerpiece of his administration. While many of the trade wins Trump has touted aren’t new, former administration officials and trade experts say it could help him garner support from voters in the key states he needs for reelection.
“We’ve been trying to do this stuff for years. We got it done and in the time of an election when you know what the swing states are, you brag about whatever the heck you can,” said Clete Willems, former deputy director of the National Economic Council in the Trump administration.
“It’s time to try to cash [the wins] in and get credit for it,” Willems said.
Trump’s trade agenda has long included nuggets that would help key constituencies in swing states and with the election just a month away, administration officials are making sure to sell it among those he hopes will tip the electoral scale in his favor.
Chief among those small wins are: opening Canada’s dairy market more for farmers — many of whom are concentrated in states like Wisconsin that he hopes to win again, launching trade investigations to please seasonal produce farmers in must-win Florida and opening the European market for lobstermen in Maine — a deal repeatedly praised last month during the Republican National Convention.