Newt Gingrich talks trade, tweets, Trump at Alabama Farmers Federation meeting
MONTGOMERY — During his keynote address to close the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 97th Annual Meeting, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke candidly about President Donald Trump’s administration, touching on trade and the president’s tweeting habits.
Before Gingrich addressed the crowd of 1,200 assembled at the Renaissance in downtown Montgomery, Governor Kay Ivey delivered brief remarks to open the closing dinner.
“Please know that you have a friend in the governor’s chair,” Ivey told the group of farmers. “After all, we are only successful when we’re successful together.”
Growing up in rural Wilcox Co. on my family’s farm, I have a special appreciation for the work of @AlfaFarmers. The agriculture & forestry industries are vital to our economy & are essential to the state as a whole. I was very honored to hear @newtgingrich address #AlfaFarmers! pic.twitter.com/FUEqK5BDFS
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) December 4, 2018
After the meal and recognition of the many elected officials and industry partners in attendance, Gingrich gave an approximately 45-minute address, taking about five questions at the end, too.
While there were many red meat talking points for conservatives and good insider perspectives on hot-button topics, trade has been the biggest issue affecting Alabama agriculture – the state’s largest industry – recently, with trade tensions with the likes of Mexico, Canada, China, the European Union and Turkey making life tougher and the future even more uncertain for farmers in the Yellowhammer State.
Mexican and Canadian issues have been boosted by Trump’s proposed replacement to NAFTA, which was officially signed at the recent G20 in Argentina. However, while that trade signing had been expected, it was the framework trade truce that Trump struck with China that has farmers in Alabama and across America optimistic.
One of the biggest concessions that the Trump administration is set to achieve is opening China up for American agricultural exports, to the tune of what is being called a “very substantial” amount that will help alter the current trade imbalance between the two superpowers.
“Out of all the noise about Mueller and Cohen and all this stuff, the President did actually go to the G20 meeting in Argentina; he did actually meet with the head of China; they did actually have a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting; they have preliminarily arranged an agreement on trade, which does include China buying American agriculture again,” the former speaker outlined.
Gingrich also gave some background into Trump’s personality, telling the story of when he went to visit with the president recently.
“You know, ten percent less Trump would be 100 percent more effective,” Gingrich reportedly told Trump.
Gingrich explained that Trump tilted his head and asked, “Are you talking about my tweets?”
To good laughs from the crowd, Gingrich continued, “And I said, ‘Yes! I like about 80 percent of them.'”
However, true to form, Trump tried to move that number.
The president said, “No, it can’t be 80 percent. It’s gotta be 95.”
Gingrich responded, “I’m not negotiating with you about what percent of your tweets I like.”
He explained to the crowd, “But it was just automatic, he just wanted to make a deal. He couldn’t help himself.”
Later in the speech, Gingrich perhaps got his biggest line of applause when he mentioned that one of the highlights of Republicans’ 2020 agenda will be defeating Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook). He was especially well received when speaking about Trump’s success with deregulation and getting conservative judges confirmed, too.
Gingrich also motivated the crowd to stay informed and involved.
“I’m delighted at the number of people here,” Gingrich emphasized. “I wish I could reach into each of your hearts and convince you how important it is to protect this country … and how big of a difference you can make.”
“People like you are going to make the difference. Talking to your friends over lunch. I hope each of you will leave here dedicated to helping your country, and your children and grandchildren.” @newtgingrich #AlfaFarmers18
— Alfa Farmers (@AlfaFarmers) December 4, 2018
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn