As our reader survey suggested, the next administration’s impact on food policy is still unclear, as president-elect Trump has said relatively little about the food industry.
The opening speech at the Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show delivered by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the final presidential debate, reflected the same attitude. The show, which took place in Rosemont, IL, and ended this Tuesday, drew an international audience that ranged from food manufacturers to brokers to retailers. Wallace didn’t expand on many food-industry specific issues, but was able to share his take on two issues Trump has been vocal about that may impact the industry: Immigration and climate change.
On Obama’s executive orders to defer deportation of people who are in this country illegally, Wallace predicts Trump will undo it, “possibly on day one.” Same goes for Obama’s executive orders on climate change measures.
“Now we are going to see the flip side of that because anything a president does, not by working with Congress but by writing a law and signing that law through the stroke of a pen, can be undone with a stroke of a pen and you can be sure that Trump will score the early points by doing just that,” he added.
The issue is a hot topic in the industry as immigrants, here legally or illegally, make up a huge portion of the US farming workforce, with an estimated 53% of the hired crop labor force in the fiscal years 2001-2002 not authorized to work in the US, according to the National Agricultural Workers Survey by the Department of Labor.
Trump will drop some of his campaign promises, or at least go slow
Wallace called Trump’s election “the biggest political stunner in my lifetime.” This says a lot, coming from a seasoned journalist—Wallace was the chief White House correspondent throughout the Reagan administration for NBC News, and has interviewed prominent world leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad one-on-one.
His journalistic experience also gave him the chance to see Trump from different angles. “I’ve spent private time with Trump and he’s very different off camera. Quiet, well-mannered, a grown up,” Wallace said. “But I’ve also seen the public Trump from moderating debates in the primaries and the general election.”
The question now is which Trump will the US see in the next four years, “the boisterous, politically incorrect candidate of the primaries, or the sober, more-disciplined, more presidential Trump we saw in Washington last week.”
A character judgment from Wallace’s perspective suggests that Trump will drop a lot of his promises from the primaries. “I [think] he’ll go slow on the massive deportation of people in this country illegally,” Wallace said.
“My guess is he will push to secure the border,” he added. “I’m not sure it will be an actual wall for the entire length of our border with Mexico, but I think he will emphasize more security and he will delay moving on deportation."