(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s plan for tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and threats to withdraw from the Nafta trade agreement show a preference for the Rust Belt over the Farm Belt, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said.
"I think he’s looking at the Rust Belt primarily," Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, said in an interview Wednesday.
Voters in agriculturally oriented regions, many of whom supported Trump, have "always been underappreciated," Roberts added, saying the president should offer farm-state residents policies that consistently benefit them.
"Mexico is now buying their wheat from Argentina" because of trade concerns, he said. "That should be Kansas wheat that should be going south on the Kansas City Southern Railway right now."
Support for free trade will be essential to make sure farm-state voters, a largely conservative voting bloc, support the GOP in this year’s congressional elections, he said.
"There’s always a danger" that frustration with Trump could trickle into congressional races, the senator said. "I think our approval rating is lower than used-car salesmen," he said. "There’s no question that people want stability and predictability."
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