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Farmers Reel After Sonny Perdue Mocks Them As ‘Whiners’ Amid Trade War Bankruptcies

America’s farmers have apparently been demoted by the Trump administration from “great patriots” to “whiners,” according to a tone-deaf joke by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Farmers, struggling with plunging income and bankruptcies amid President Donald Trump’s trade war, were stunned.

Perdue made the joke while getting heat last week from Minnesota farmers complaining about, among other things, the latest blow to their businesses from the trade war. China has canceled all purchases of U.S. farm products in retaliation for Trump’s decision to impose 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports.

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At a Farmfest listening session with farmers in Minnesota, Perdue hit back at the complaints with his joke: “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”

As he pounded the table in mirth, some of the thousands of farmers at the event laughed nervously — which was followed by boos.

“It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say,” Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish told HuffPost. “It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”

Wertish said several farmers have complained about Perdue’s comment to him in person and via email.

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