The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump is telling farmers to trust him on trade. It may be working.

President Trump maintains he "loves" farmers even as he continues to cripple their markets. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

The most remarkable part of President Trump’s trade war may be the extent to which those most hurt by it still support it.

After Trump announced $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers last week, headlines said farmers wanted “trade, not aid.”

But according to a CBS News/YouGov poll, 42 percent of “people in jobs that directly depend on agriculture or farming” approve of how Trump is handling trade. Even more striking is that one-third of those in agriculture “dislike the president’s approach” but are “glad he is trying something,” as opposed to having left the matter alone.

Indeed, Trump is banking on the patience of one of the most reliable parts of his base to see his trade war come to fruition.

Trump has acknowledged that his tariffs will hurt farmers, at least in the short term, but says they will “open up markets” in the long run (many dispute this). You can watch Trump’s progression on this in the video above.

“Our farmers are patriots, and they’re saying the president is doing the right thing,” Trump said Thursday. “These are incredible people, and, you know, we’ve given them a little help yesterday. We’re giving them help.”

But as industries increasingly blame Trump’s trade war for layoffs and shrinking profits, the question is whether, or when, Trump’s base will turn on him as a result.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times last month, a factory worker said she would still probably support Trump, even if she lost her job as a result of tariffs.

“Overall, he’s done good,” she told the Times. “I’m not going to be selfish just because of me.”

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.