Chuck Grassley

Grassley: Trump’s unpredictable foreign policy is a ‘positive’


U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says critics of President Trump’s foreign-policy maneuvering, in which long-stated campaign and policy positions can shift, even day to day, is a smart approach to dealing with certain international issues, particularly those involving potential military action.

“I have to see it not as dangerous,” Grassley said in an interview with The Jefferson Herald. “The unpredictability, I think, is very much a positive. And I have to say that because I criticized President Obama all the time when he said, ‘Well in two weeks we’re going to do this.’ ”

Added Grassley, “You shouldn’t be telling your enemies what you’re going to do.”

In a wide-ranging recent interview, Grassley dealt with a number of domestic and foreign issues.

Reacting to policy pronouncements and political provocations from President Trump, legislators in Mexico are pressing for a boycott of U.S. corn.

“I’m following it very close,” Grassley said. “If you’d asked me a month ago, very, very concerned.”

Grassley said two factors that have lessened his worries about a Mexican boycott of American corn: his staff believes it violates World Trade Organization agreements; and within the last few weeks, the White House has revealed a more “tempered approach” to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, Grassley said.

Grassley said NAFTA is a net plus for Iowa as it boosts agricultural exports.

According to CNN, Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days as president, putting the president on pace in his first year of office to surpass former President Barack Obama’s spending on travel for his entire eight years.

While his Republican colleague from Iowa in the U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst, has recently offered forceful and repeated criticisms of the president’s travel — and time spent in Florida — Grassley largely defends Trump on the matter, arguing that Trump’s Palm Beach resort, the Mar-a-Lago Club, gives him something of a home-field advantage with foreign leaders.

“I think it’s pretty impressive to them,” Grassley said, adding that he would prefer the president use Camp David. “The environment of Florida, a little more relaxed. I would think it might be a better thing than at the White House. But I wouldn’t want this president to be traveling or be on the golf course any more than any other president has been.”

On the upcoming farm bill, Grassley said his No. 1 priority will be crop insurance.

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