DES MOINES — If President Donald Trump signs a “phase one” trade pact with China in Iowa, it would provide an ‘absolutely giant” boost to his 2020 re-election bid, a key GOP supporter said Saturday.
Iowa is a crucial swing state where farmers remain a political ally, even in the face of negative ag effects from tariff wars over trade disputes. And Eric Branstad, the son of former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, now U.S. ambassador to China, said farm support for Trump could be further solidified by the signing of a deal with China in Iowa.
”I think it would be a giant boost,” said Republican Eric Branstad of Lake Mills, senior adviser for the Trump 2020 re-election campaign in Iowa.
Trump indicated last week that negotiations over a preliminary trade pact with China were progressing and he hoped eventually to sign the deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a site in the United States, and that “could even be Iowa,” he said.
“The president thinks it’s a great idea,” the younger Branstad told reporters. “But the Chinese have to agree to it and all that stuff. It’s still in the early planning stages, but the president’s comments make me feel very good that hopefully we can get him here in Iowa. That would great for us all.”
Eric Branstad made the comments as the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee tested their get-out-the-vote infrastructure one year before the November 2020 general election.
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Branstad and RNC spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said GOP anger regarding the impeachment proceedings underway by Democrats in the U.S. House and positive economic news have energized Republicans.
“I’ve never seen a base more activated this early in the cycle than I have seen anywhere,” Samsundar said.
Branstad said Republicans have been capitalizing on the “impeachment momentum” that has generated an influx of volunteers and campaign donations as part of a ‘Stop the Madness’ movement to defend the president and target Democrats who voted for last week’s impeachment resolution that passed in the House.
Trump is accused of withholding aid to Ukraine unless that country investigated the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, who had served on an energy board in Ukraine.
“I have never seen Republicans more behind a president than this president,” Branstad said.