The Trump administration on Tuesday announced up to $12 billion in emergency relief for farmers hurt by the president's trade war, moving to insulate food producers from looming financial losses that would be a direct result of President Trump's policies.

The aid to farmers, announced by the United States Department of Agriculture, will come through a direct assistance program, one designed to help with food purchase and distribution and one specifically geared toward promoting trade.

The move is an indication that Mr. Trump -- ignoring the concerns of farmers, their representatives in Congress, and even some of his own aides about the adverse consequences of a trade war he says he relishes -- plans to plow forward in escalating his tariff tit-for-tat around the world.


The plan, first reported by The Washington Post, was met with swift condemnation from Republicans and trade groups, who said that Mr. Trump had devised an expensive and clunky solution to a crisis of Depression-era proportions.

"This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House's `plan' is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches," said Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. "This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again."

One trade group leader said farmers need contracts, not aid, for stability.

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