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Donald Trump talking to farmers, translated for the rest of us

Scott Feschuk parses Trump’s recent speech about the importance of farmers—and why it’s so hard to get a decent butler
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) takes the stage with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad (R) before delivering remarks on agriculture at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTS184DZ
U.S. President Donald Trump delivering remarks on agriculture at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivering remarks on agriculture at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Let’s read between the lines of Donald Trump’s recent speech to an event on agricultural innovation, held in Iowa. The president’s words are in bold. Scott Feschuk’s annotations follow.

Thank you very much. I just learned more about farming than I ever thought I’d learn.

“Turns out roosters can’t actually talk. Yet more FAKE NEWS from Big Cartoon. More like FOGHORN LIE-HORN! Sad!” — @realDonaldTrump

What a good place. Family farmers are the backbone of America, and my administration will always support the farmer.

“No one cares more about farmers than I do. In fact, I was just out there in that farm field with Mr. Farmer and his farm son. We were walking. I said, ‘What is that over there—potatoes?’ And he said, ‘No, Mr. President, that’s my wife.’ Great people here.”

I wanted to be here for this reason—to congratulate your former governor, our new ambassador to China, Terry Branstad. This is one great man. He’s been in politics for more than three decades. And we’re going to keep him there.

“By taking him out of politics and giving him a diplomatic post. Honestly, I confuse even myself sometimes.”

When I was campaigning in Iowa, Terry would always say, “Donald, don’t say anything bad about China.” I said, “Why?” He said, “We have a great relationship with China, and I like it, and I really like President Xi,” who he knew for 30-some-odd years. 

And it really dawned on me when I was thinking about ambassadors. I said, “Boy, wouldn’t it be great if I picked a man that really likes China and, by the way, China really likes him?” So that was an easy one.

“For this same reason, I am pleased to announce, effective immediately, the appointment of myself as U.S. ambassador to McDonald’s. I look forward to sitting down soon with Mayor McCheese and working together to stop the threat posed by radical Hamburglarism.”

[The] Secretary of Agriculture, somebody you all know very well, the legendary Sonny Perdue… (applause)… and a man who is another legend on Wall Street, truly a legend. They just call him Wilbur. How about Wall Street? (Applause.)

Let us give Trump his due. He has a bizarre but undeniable hold over a large group of people. How many other wealthy New Yorkers could travel to an agricultural event in rural Iowa, praise the titans of Wall Street and earn a hearty round of applause? Next up: Convincing impoverished orphans to cheer cuts to health care. PLEASE DON’T LET BERNIE SANDERS TAKE AWAY MY CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA!

Where Wall Street is big and strong, he’s just known as Wilbur. It’s Wilbur Ross. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce. Pretty good on Wall Street. When they just say, “I hear Wilbur is going to be Secretary of Commerce”—Carl Icahn called me.

“You farmers all know Carl, right? Or do you summer on Nantucket instead of the Hamptons?”

[Carl] said, “Donald, I heard you got Wilbur.” That was it. It wasn’t “Wilbur Ross.” But there’s Wilbur Ross, and he’s going to do a fantastic job.

“These are great stories I’m telling about Wall Street. Very relatable. Let me now speak for 20 minutes about the challenges we all face in finding a decent butler.”

We have some incredible people and we’re doing some really wonderful things, including the taxes are coming along and the healthcare is coming along.

“All of you billionaire farmers are really going to love the tax cuts you’ll be getting at the expense of working people.”

And we have Gary Cohn, the President of Goldman Sachs, who left Goldman Sachs and a slightly higher salary than he’s getting right now by, like, hundreds of millions of dollars—like by a lot. Where’s Gary? He’s around here someplace.

“Probably pooling the mortgages of the surrounding farms into a flimsy collateralized debt obligation that undermines the long-term health of the American economy for short-term corporate gain. It’s kind of his thing.”

And Gary is working on some incredible plans—not only taxes, but we’re going to be rebuilding our country.

“Two words: More chandeliers.”

I was dealt a very difficult hand, believe me, when I took over, between North Korea, the Middle East. You look at Afghanistan, what’s going on there.

“Honestly, can someone look at Afghanistan and tell me what’s going on there? I have no clue.”

American farmers and ranchers are the best—absolute best—at what they do… You produce the product, but you have to work too hard and too long to make a living.

“You should go work on Wall Street. Easy gig. Drop my name to Carl next time you see him in Palm Beach.”

Farming—which is something that is very beautiful to me. I’m not a farmer, but I’d be very happy to be one. It’s a very beautiful world to me.

6:15 a.m. Donald Trump’s career as a farmer begins.

6:17 a.m. Donald Trump quits farming after getting a speck of mud on his dress shoes.

George Washington once wrote: “I’d rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” We understand that.

“Yep, we totally get it. Me in particular. I have often yearned for the pastoral ideal of farm life from my gold-plated New York sky mansion.”

For the past two weeks, my administration has been working extensively on vocational education, infrastructure, and technology.

“You’ve probably seen all the front page stories about our very successful vocational education program.”

We saw how today’s farmers can adjust application rates of fertilizers in their fields with just the touch of a smartphone. It’s changed a lot over the years. 

“Back when I was a boy, you couldn’t do any of that without waking up a Mexican.”

American farmers pour their hearts into their crops and their love into their great communities. That’s why they call this the heartland.

That is not why they call it the heartland.

And those maps, those electoral maps, they were all red. Beautiful red. Beautiful. If you look at those maps…

“… and because my ego is so fragile, and my obsession with self so complete, I do look at them—every single morning and every single night before I go to sleep, right before the hosts of Fox & Friends tuck me in…”

…it’s almost like, wow. A lot of places that people weren’t thinking about turned red. A couple of little blue dots on the sides, but they are red. Farmers.

“Thank you for electing me as your president so I can focus unrelentingly on the challenge of constantly reminding you that I was elected your president.”

Our farmers’ work ethic feeds America, and their toughness and grit define America. They’re tough and they’re smart.

“I am reading now from the script my people gave me, in case you hadn’t noticed. You can tell because I just went two consecutive sentences without mentioning myself.”

So it’s a great honour to be here with you today. People that I know, people that I love, very special people; the people of Iowa that were so good to me during the election.

“But enough talk about me. Let’s talk about what you’ve done for me.”