Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who as secretary of agriculture has earned a reputation as one of the most affable members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, apparently has been assigned to the patch-and-mend squad.
Two days after an ally-splitting G-7 appearance in Quebec City, which ended with an exiting Trump insulting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “dishonest” and “weak”, plans were announced Monday for Perdue to make his own visit to Canada.
Specifically, Perdue will head to Prince Edward Island (yes, that of Anne of Green Gables fame) on Friday to meet with his Canadian counterpart, Lawrence MacAulay, and “tour sites showcasing agriculture and seafood in the province and throughout the Atlantic region.”
The trip appears designed to be relentlessly friendly affair. Perdue tweeted a photo with MacAulay from a meeting in Savannah last year and said he was “looking forward to visiting my friend.”
“Been planning this trip for weeks, to discuss issues of shared importance in agriculture,” Perdue tweeted.
But clearly, major damage control is on the docket. Canada has imposed many retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including some that could have a substantial impact on Georgia (Canada is the state’s largest trading partner). Among the goods getting slapped with new duties: nut purees, plywood and paper products.
Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly criticized Canada’s tariffs on American dairy products.
Which leads us to an interesting line from a recent Reuters report on the hold that Canadian dairy farmers have on their nation’s ag policy – it’s not dissimilar from the influence farmers in Iowa have on U.S. presidential politics. It seems as if Canada's 11,000 dairy farmers are concentrated in vote-rich provinces Quebec and Ontario, “giving the industry out-sized influence in domestic politics.”
It’s very possible that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is a foreign policy geek who stayed up through the wee hours to watch bromance bloom in Singapore. But there’s also the fact that he’s a Republican candidate for governor who wants President Donald Trump on his side in GOP primary runoff. From his campaign Twitter account:
The liberal media can't imagine praising @realDonaldTrump - even on this historic occasion. We're with you @POTUS. Great work! #MAGA
That this was premeditated, and not just a one-off, was confirmed an hour or so later this morning, with a press release that contained this Cagle quote:
“President Trump has already delivered more than President Obama did when he was awarded the prize early in his first term. There’s still much work and much negotiating to come, but we have reason to celebrate a commitment to peace – and a reason to believe that our president should win the Nobel Peace Prize.”
From the endorsement bandwagon:
-- Brian Kemp’s Republican campaign for governor claims two endorsements. One is from state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth. The other is from Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, currently chairman of the state Public Service Commission.
The latter is interesting on two points. First, PSC member Tim Echols is backing Kemp’s rival, Casey Cagle, in the July 24 primary runoff. So we have a PSC split in the making. Secondly, the press release on McDonald included this reference to the surreptitious recording of Cagle by former primary opponent Clay Tippins: “"Brian Kemp is a man of character who does the right thing - even when no one is looking."
-- This is doesn’t happen too often: The International Brotherhood of Police Officers appears to be bucking tradition by endorsing Democrat Charlie Bailey rather than incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican. The endorsement will be announced at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today at the group’s Atlanta headquarters.
Our AJC colleague Mark Neisse has dissected the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to permit states to remove inactive voters from their rolls:
By a 5-4 vote that split the conservative and liberal justices, the court rejected arguments that the practice violates a federal law intended to increase the ranks of registered voters. A handful of other states also use voters’ inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from the voting rolls.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the decision helps protect the accuracy of voter lists.
The Republican side of the race to replace Kemp is unfinished. But Democrat John Barrow, the former congressman, had this to say via Twitter:
“Just because the Supreme Court allows you to discriminate doesn't mean you must discriminate. As your next Secretary of State, I'll protect citizens who choose not to vote and keep them from being purged from voter rolls.”
This is an argument with possibilities in the current climate -- that the right to reject all the choices offered on a ballot is just as important as the right to vote.
Former acting attorney general and Georgia native Sally Yates has an essay on CNN’s website about her father’s suicide, keying off the recent deaths of travel host Anthony Bourdain and handbag mogul Kate Spade. A taste:
“I haven't spoken much publicly of my father's death -- while it was over 30 years ago, it is still knock-the-breath-out-of-me painful. I also hate that for him, as for others who take their lives, they come to be defined by how they died rather than how they lived. And to me, this diminishes the value of their lives. But I feel a responsibility -- underscored by the events of last week with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade's deaths, and the disturbing news about the rising suicide rate -- to use whatever voice I now have to help to dispel the shame or stigma associated with mental illness and to encourage those suffering to get treatment.”
Our AJC colleague Ernie Suggs chatted with 86-year-old civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hospitalized last month with a high fever and infection. From Suggs’ take:
Andrew young is still funny, still laughing and still telling stories.
But admittedly, the former Atlanta and United Nations ambassador is doing them all a bit slower.
…“I am doing very well,” Young said. “I have another 10 days of antibiotic treatment. I needed three months to recover from the last 60 years.”
Student protestors marking the second anniversary of the Pulse night club massacre in Orlando Fla., will hold a “die-in” at noon today at Liberty Plaza across from the state Capitol.
The U.S. House today is slated to advance a slate of bills aimed at combating the nation’s opioid crisis. Two on the docket are authored by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler. One seeks to make it easier to treat opioid addiction through telemedicine. The other directs the health secretary to study barriers for patients with chronic pain to medication.