China is going after U.S. farmers with its tariffs and other economic actions because they represent President Donald Trump's voter base, Rep. Adam Kinzinger claimed Wednesday.
"If President [Barack] Obama was doing this, if he was taking on Chinese unfair trade practices, which he never did, they would be going after the base that voted for him," the Illinois Republican told CNN's "New Day."
Kinzinger said there are things he would have done differently when it comes to Chinese trade, including entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fighting from a position of strength, but still, action should have been taken "10 or 20 years ago" against China.
"There is some pain and it's terrible and we need to do everything we can to make sure that we alleviate that as much as possible," Kinzinger said. "My new born-again, free-trade Democratic friends should pass the USMCA. This is something we can get done to replace NAFTA, it's good for farmers. But I've heard some of them say they don't want to give Trump a win."
Kinzinger said farmers in his state are frustrated, but they understand the United States is in a fight it must win.
"If you back away from this fight right now, the concessions that will be extracted from us will be painful and then we're going to be having months and months of talking about why the Chinese are still eating our lunch," Kinzinger said.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumers will end up paying more as a result of tariffs on China, just like Chinese consumers will pay for goods if their government puts tariffs on U.S. goods, he added.
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