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Bustos Brings R.I. County Farmer To State Of The Union

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2019 State of the Union

Millions of Americans watch the State of the Union address on television, but only a select few ever get to see it in person.

A farmer from Rock Island County just joined that exclusive club.

Tom Mueller grows corn and soybeans near Edgington, Ill. His 700-acre farm is about 700 miles away from Washington, D.C., where he was Tuesday night, attending President Donald Trump's State of the Union address with Rep. Cheri Bustos.

Each member of Congress is allowed one extra invitation. Bustos gave hers to Mueller, who has been affected by the ongoing trade war.

In 2016, the third-generation farmer was optimistic about Trump's election. But since then, the President has slapped steep tariffs on China and other agricultural partners. In turn, they've retaliated by imposing their own tariffs on American crops.

Now, Mueller calls Trump’s trade policies "reckless."

"When he was elected, everyone thought he was 'the art of the deal,'" said Mueller, referring to a 1987 business book credited to Trump. "And so far, we have not seen any deals happen."

During the State of the Union, Trump repeatedly called on Americans to "choose greatness."

Afterward, Bustos criticized those remarks as simplistic.

In a statement, she said "farmers cannot 'choose greatness' when the president's trade war is eliminating the very markets where they need to sell their goods."