Politics & Government

5 questions with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Sen. David Perdue

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Georgia Sen. David Perdue, both of Houston County, spoke to reporters outside White Diamond Grill in Bonaire Friday afternoon after their barbeque lunch.

Here’s what they said.

Question: The $200 billion trade war with China, how is that going to impact Georgia?

Sonny Perdue: Well, obviously, it affects agriculture across the United States. Agriculturists — because of the productivity of American producer, farmers, ranchers here — are always the tip of the spear. We export more agricultural products. They don’t create the trade deficit; it’s other products that do. So our farmers are always at risk on any kind of trade disruption. And there’s some legitimate anxiety out there about it. We hope it gets resolved sooner rather than later.

Question: How do the president’s tariffs affect imports going through Savannah?

Sonny Perdue: Well, there will be probably some there, but we don’t know yet. They haven’t been fully implemented. There’s just a small amount there now. There may be some impact of it through traffic in Savannah, but we don’t know yet for sure.

David Perdue: Let’s keep one thing in mind, this is a strategy that will help us export more in the long term. So in the long term it should help Savannahs’ export volume.

Question: (To David Perdue) You’ve said that you support the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. What is it that you like about him?

David Perdue: Three hundred rulings that he has written on. This man has a track record. You can look at his track record and predict the way he will rule in the Supreme Court. Also, the Supreme Court has taken some of his dissenting opinions and taken them up in the Supreme Court. So this is a man with a long record, and we don’t have to guess at how he is going to adjudicate.

Question: What are your thoughts on the Georgia/Florida water wars? How will that affect the pecan industry in Georgia?

Sonny Perdue: Water is certainly important to agriculture here and everywhere else. You can’t grow crops without water. I’ve been to places in the United States that get less than 10 inches of rain, and they do the best job they can, but its not like Georgia. This has been going on for a long time. I was hoping the Supreme Court would have made a more definitive ruling, unfortunately remanded it back to the special master, but nonetheless I don’t think that’s necessarily negative. I believe Georgia has the data and the facts to demonstrate that the water use has been appropriate and been used appropriately, agriculturally through the state and from pecans to other crops. And I think we can demonstrate that to the special master.

Question: President Trump comes under a lot of controversy. You guys have mostly supported him. What is it that you like about him, and how do you think he’s done so far?

Sonny Perdue: Let me tell you very simply why I like President Trump. He is through and through all-American. He is for American farmers. He is for American small business people. He’s for America, and he makes no mistake about it. He may have a different negotiating style. He has a unique way of confronting people. But I guarantee you, everything he does is for the benefit of the American person and American citizen. That’s why I support him and will continue to support him as long as he supports America that way.

David Perdue: What I like about this presidency is that this agenda is working. This president came into an economy that had only grown 1.9 percent for eight years. He had us work on regulation, energy and taxes last year. This year we did a Dodd-Frank bill that will free up $2 trillion for small banks in America. We have the economy going. We have the lowest unemployment in the African-American community in U.S. history. So what we have right now is the proof that these conservative values actually work, and this president believes that. He wants to move now to create a level playing field around the world, and that’s another reason that I support him. I just think that his instincts are right. He wants infrastructure, he wants to protect the border, and he wants the Europeans to pay their fair share in their own national defense. So this is a president that’s fighting for U.S. companies, U.S. workers and he’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran in 2016.