Dan Wheat/Capital Press
YAKIMA, Wash. — President Donald Trump may “offend” by what he says and does, but “he isn’t owned by anyone” and “he’s the kind of guy we need,” says a lawyer instrumental in picking Trump’s advisory Agriculture and Rural Issues team for the 2016 election campaign.
Gary Baise, a principal at OFW Law, Washington, D.C., talked about Trump at the Washington State Dairy Federation’s annual meeting at the Yakima Convention Center, Nov. 7, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Trump’s election.
“He doesn’t know us, but he understands us. He knows something has happened in rural America,” Baise said, noting Republican Trump carried 84.6 percent of the rural vote while Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried 73.5 percent of the urban vote.
Since Trump’s election the stock market has gained $5 trillion mainly because of reduced regulations on business, unemployment is the lowest level in 17 years and if tax reform happens the Dow Jones Industrial Average could reach 25,000 to 27,000 and Republicans could win a 60-plus-seat Senate majority, Baise said.
He said he’s optimistic tax reform will happen because senators such as John McCain and Jeff Flake who hate Trump will vote for it because they know otherwise “people will have their heads.”
“In John McCain you have someone who hates him even more than (New York Sen. Chuck) Schumer. What you may not know is McCain and Hilary Clinton are very close. They are part of what Mr. Trump calls ‘the swamp,’” he said. “Mr. Trump is something we have never seen. One thing he suffers from is never having had a strong board of directors, but Franklin Roosevelt was probably the only other president not bought and sold by special interests.
“Even though he can’t spell agriculture, he knows working people and what makes them tick. …”
Baise also spoke about North Korea.
“We have three carrier groups off the coast of North Korea and three Los Angeles class nuclear submarines each with 20 multiple warheads. Kim Jong-un may see his missile blast off but he will never live to see whether it was successful. The Bushes, Clinton and Obama tried to buy him off. Trump’s the kind of guy we need,” Baise said.
On trade, he said Trump simply wants a fair and level playing field.
“We ship $1.6 billion in meat to Japan with a 37 percent Japanese tariff and we hit the point where the tariff goes to 50 percent. We don’t do that to their cars, TVs and phones,” he said.
Baise began his luncheon speech noting he’s a trial lawyer, not a lobbyist. He recalled representing Idaho wheat and bluegrass growers several years ago in a case against a group of Seattle activists who wanted to shut down burning of wheat and bluegrass stubble.
“The trial lasted two weeks. The courtroom every day was packed. I will never forget several women saying if you lose this case, we lose our farm, our livelihood and we have nothing to fall back on,” Baise said.
“That’s why I do what I do. I do it for the people I grew up with on an Illinois farm and I do it for you. That’s why I got involved in this (Trump) campaign that everyone said would be unsuccessful,” Baise said.
Early on in the primary campaign, Baise backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But Walker was the first of many candidates to quit the race.
After Trump lost the Iowa primary to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump told aides he needed better connection to rural America because it may be the key to his election, Baise said.
Iowa college professor Sam Clovis, who just withdrew from consideration for a USDA post, Charles W. Herbster, a Nebraska farmer, and two other Trump team members asked Baise in March 2016 to assemble the advisory team. A large team, including governors and prominent agricultural voices across the nation, was gathered.
“I knew a lot of people in agriculture. Most people I invited joined for one reason. They said we can’t afford to have Hillary Clinton appoint the next Supreme Court justice. They might disagree with Trump on immigration but they knew how important the Supreme Court was,” Baise said.
Baise was impressed by Trump’s boldness, how he said what people were thinking and what other candidates were afraid to say.
“I asked Scott Walker and (former Virginia Gov.) Jim Gilmore if they would go on a stage and say Mrs. Clinton is a crook. They said no they wouldn’t have said that. I said that’s why you’re not going to be president,” Baise said.
On election night, Baise went to bed early expecting Trump to lose. The mainstream media solidly said Clinton would win. Only the Los Angeles Times and Investor’s Business Daily consistently said Trump would win because they equally polled Republicans and Democrats while others polled mostly Democrats, Baise said.
Baise is general counsel of the U.S. Grains Council and the American Soybean Association. He was the first chief of staff to the first EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, in the Nixon administration.