In Lansing, Pence touts loyalty to farmers


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Vice President Mike Pence visited Michigan Tuesday, making stops in Lansing and metro Detroit to drum up support for President Donald Trump in a November battleground state.

His first engagement was at the Michigan Farm Bureau Lansing Legislative Seminar, where he was introduced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and then advertised his and Trump’s commitment to the key constituency of farmers.

“We cut taxes, we’ve rolled back more red tape already than any administration in American history,” Pence told a friendly crowd at the Lansing Center. “We’ve unleashed American energy, we fought for free and fair trade, and I don’t have to tell you here in the state of Michigan, this economy is booming.”

Selling Trump as a strong negotiator, he praised phase one of a new trade deal with China, which includes $40 billion to $50 billion in agricultural exports there over the next two years; and the replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which he said would expand U.S. access to the Canadian agriculture market.

“The man that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ got a great deal for the American people. The USMCA is here and it’s a huge win for American farmers,” Pence said.

“You have a man who is going to keep fighting every single day for jobs and opportunities in the city and on the farm in all of our trade negotiations with countries around the world, and he’s going to do it like a winner,” he continued. “And we’re going to keep winning. That’s what leadership looks like.”

Air Force Two landed in Lansing shortly before 11:15 a.m., where Pence greeted some of his most ardent supporters.

His first stop was for blueberry pancakes (it’s National Pancake Day) at local restaurant Fleetwood Diner, where his staff and media far outnumbered regular customers. After speaking at the Farm Bureau event, the vice president headed to a Keep America Great event in Troy.

Michigan is expected to be key in the November presidential election. Trump won here narrowly in 2016 — the first Republican presidential candidate to do so in 28 years — and hopes doing so again will help him clinch re-election. Democrats hope turning the state blue will clear their path to the White House.

Aiming for a repeat, the Trump campaign is going full-court press. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, has been in Michigan three times in the last three months. Tuesday’s visit was only two weeks ahead of the Democratic presidential primary, and came as recent polls showed Trump trailing in Michigan to all the Democratic front-runners in hypothetical matchups.

Michigan is certain to see more of Pence and Trump himself before the November vote.

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