President Trump unveiled his plan to expand the use of ethanol during a rally in Council Bluffs on Tuesday.
Before walking into the Mid-America Center to the cheers of 7,000 people, President Trump stopped for a one-on-one interview with 6 News.
"Mr President, welcome to Council Bluffs," said 6 News Brian Mastre. "Let's talk about tonight's big announcement. A boost for ethanol. It's good news for Nebraska and Iowa farmers. The oil industry isn't a big fan. How do you balance those interests?"
"The ethanol people have been good to me," said President Trump, "and I've studied it for a while and it's good for our country. I promised it when I was in Nebraska and Iowa. We're taking care of our farmers."
The idea is E15, a higher octane blend of ethanol, would be available year-round -- meaning more of a market for corn producers. E15 contains 15% ethanol. It's currently banned in the summer. The oil industry has said E15 is bad for a majority of automobiles. Experts says many of our current fuels contain 10% ethanol.
At the rally, President Trump seemed surprised by the number of Nebraskans in attendance at the Council Bluffs arena -- and repeatedly asked people to identify their home state.
"Iowa," said President Trump. The crowd cheered.
"Nebraska," said President Trump. The crowd roared at least twice as loud.
Brian Mastre: "Two years ago you won on the backs of rural voters. How do you sum up the appeal of President Trump for rural voters?" President Trump. "It's an interesting thing. I think they heard what I said about trade more than anything else For 15-years it’s been trending down, down, down. If you look at soybeans from 5-years ago, they cut in half. They went down in half. Now they’re starting to go up and we’re getting tariffs. Eventually the tariffs will come off and your prices will be way up. If you look back even two weeks ago people didn’t think we’d make a great deal with Canada. We made a great deal with Canada. And a great deal with Mexico. The deal we had previously was terrible. I love the farmers. They’re special people. They’ve gone through a lot, and we’re opening up markets. And someday China, too. Right now it’s a closed shop. And it’s unfair. The way they treat our country. It’s all being worked out."
Brian: "With the growth and jobs you talked about with the USMCA trade agreement, how does that specifically impact Council Bluffs and Omaha?
President Trump: "It's so great. People want jobs. You need jobs. You come in on a merit basis to help farms. We're very strong on the borders, so we're having the merit system and it's really working out."
President Trump spent a considerable amount of time at the rally urging his supporters to vote for local republicans who are up for reelection. He believes the recent fight over Justice Kavanaugh has galvanized his base.
Brian Mastre: "The last couple of months have been contentious with the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. How do you mend those fences? Do you see your role as a healer of the divide?"
President Trump: "He’s going to be a great justice of the Supreme Court. Brilliant man. First in class at Yale. He’s somebody everyone respects. You know 10-years ago Brian, I was asked by a couple of people who I think should be on the court and I asked them what they thought -- and they were always talking about Judge Kavanaugh. The democrats were vicious. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. He’s now sitting on the Supreme Court where he should be. I think basically he will go down as one our great justices. It will happen quickly. Our country is coming together quickly. Our economy is the best it’s ever been by looking at the deals we did with Canada and Mexico and South Korea. We also made a great deal for farmers of South Korea. We’re opening up these countries we’ve never done before."