Vice President Mike Pence, launching the Trump campaign's agriculture coalition, offered some proverbial red meat to a crowd of supporters in Iowa on Thursday by criticizing Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris for suggesting that Americans should eat less of the real stuff.
“We’re not going to let Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to cut America’s meat,” Pence told an adoring crowd at the Iowa Fairgrounds, which at one point broke into a chant of ‘four more years.’”
Pence was referring to Harris’s statement at a CNN town hall last year that Americans need to be “educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment," and that she supported altering the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to discourage red meat consumption.
Pence, speaking at the Iowa state fairgrounds, also noted the Trump administration’s approval of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the replacement for the Obama-era "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule that had expanded the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act over more wetlands and other areas. “We repealed the ‘waters of the U.S.A.” rule and restored private property rights here in Iowa and all across America,” he said.
Pence said Trump had promised to expand ethanol markets and “that’s just what we’ve done,” noting the expansion of the use of E15 year-round.
“Promises made, promises kept,” Pence said.
The ethanol industry welcomed the approval of E15 but has also sharply criticized the EPA for approving small refinery exemptions from annual ethanol usage mandates.
In a statement before the event, Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said Pence “is coming to the Hawkeye State to change the narrative on the Trump Administration’s disastrous coronavirus response, and to distract from their record of double-crossing the ethanol industry and pursuing an erratic, costly trade policy that puts American workers on the losing side of the equation.”
Pence, and before him Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, painted a picture of a Biden-Harris administration that would embrace “radical left” and “socialist” policies and leave Americans without basic freedoms such as their Second Amendment gun rights.
The upcoming November election is not about whether the U.S. will be more liberal or conservative, or more Democratic than Republican, he said.
“I think the choice in this election is whether America remains America,” he said.
On one side, said Pence, is “freedom, free markets, the inalienable right to life and liberty,” he said. On the other is growing governmental control that would include “an avalanche of red tape.”
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“Make no mistake about it — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would set American on a path of socialism and decline and we’re not going to that happen,” he said.
Despite continuing worries in farm country about low commodity prices and shrinking foreign markets, Pence touted the administration’s record on agriculture, pointing to a “record” single-day sale of corn to China last month. “We’re leveling the playing field,” he said.
He specifically mentioned the “phase one” trade deal, under which China is supposed to import $36.5 billion worth of U.S. ag goods this calendar year. The latest USDA figures show China bought $6.6 billion worth in the first six months of this year.
“We have a ways to go,” he acknowledged, but said the U.S. is making progress.
“The American economy is coming back,” Pence said. “We’re going to bring America all the way back, because we’re going to make America great again — again.”
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