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SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Friday that tariffs being imposed on American products are "devastating to our agricultural sector," and he hopes the administration of President Donald Trump focuses on countries that are "bad actors," rather than allies.

But in general, Davis said, "I do believe the president is actually working hard to move this country in the right direction."

Davis, who spoke with reporters during a visit to Roland Machinery in Springfield, also did not say if he voted for Trump, though in a statement a month before the 2016 election, the congressman said he couldn't vote for anyone in the race, and asked Trump to step aside so now-Vice President Mike Pence could be elected president.

It was on Oct. 7, 2016, that a video was released of a 2005 conversation Trump had while an "Access Hollywood" microphone was live. Trump, getting off a bus, talked of women letting him grab and kiss them because he was famous.

The next day, Davis issued a statement saying he and his wife teach their children to respect women.

"The abhorrent comments made by Donald Trump are inexcusable and go directly against what I've been doing in Washington to combat assaults on college campuses," Davis said at the time. "Because of this, I am rescinding my support for Donald Trump. ... With the terrible options America has right now, I cannot cast my vote for any of the candidates, so I hope Donald Trump withdraws from the race so the American people can elect Mike Pence as our next president."

When asked Friday who he voted for in the presidential race, given the statement that he couldn't vote for Trump, Davis said, "The American people chose President Trump, and I'm going to continue to work with Donald Trump, who I've had a chance to get to know across the table."

Davis said that he's had "numerous people come in and tell me that I should never work with President Trump," adding that many people told him not to work with then-President Barack Obama.

"But you know what," he said, "I'm going to work with whomever the president is, and I've been impressed by this administration on a wide variety of issues, especially working with us to pass ... historic tax cuts. ... And we're going to continue to see businesses like Roland Machinery continue to grow."

Asked again if he voted for Trump, Davis said, "There's one thing I've learned in this business. I can tell you, I will never tell anybody who I voted for. ... I will continue to respect the same process and privacy that you ask for."

Matt Roland, president of the heavy equipment supplier, said that with tariffs, the cost of all-steel buckets that form part of the machines sold by his company have been going up 8 percent to 25 percent. But those attachments are just a small part of the full machines, so "that's only like 3 or 4 percent of the acquisition prices of the total machine," he said.

"Our segment of the economy is a world manufacturing-based economy," Roland said. "We build machines all over the world and we bring them in from all over the world. And so does Caterpillar and so does John Deere. So it will affect us. The larger manufacturers probably level it out a little bit better than smaller manufacturers."

Still, said Roland, whose company sells mainly Komatsu products -- most built in Tennessee and South Carolina -- "As long as the economy is strong, we can probably handle it."

The Trump administration Friday imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of imports from China, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry said "retaliatory tariffs" also took effect. The People's Daily said tariffs were imposed on a list of goods issued last month that included soybeans and pork.

"It's devastating to our agricultural sector," Davis said. "I don't think it's a coincidence that China chose those products. ... I certainly hope that the administration can work with China to end these tariffs on both sides as quickly as possible."

Davis said China had been an "unfair trading partner in many products," but he also noted the White House has imposed tariffs on Canada and the European Union.

"I wish the administration would focus on unfair trading partners rather than focusing on some of our allies and some of our good trading partners, like Canada and the EU and others," Davis said.

He said that had Democrat Hillary Clinton won election over Republican Trump, there still would have been "higher tariffs and we would have seen some renegotiation of trade deals." He also said Sonny Perdue, the U.S. secretary of agriculture, is an advocate for the industry.

"And the president himself knew it was a big issue when he came to talk to us Republicans just a few short weeks ago and he asked us to trust him on this," Davis said. "That was the same day soybeans dropped a dollar. I'm very concerned that this administration may be going the wrong way on punishing our good trading partners, and I don't think that's a good thing."

"You talk to many of the farmers that I represent, they will tell you they're worried, but they still support this president," Davis said. "They're telling me to trust the president, too, even though they're very concerned and they're looking at the possible losses they may have. But they trust this president will actually bargain in good faith."

He also said Trump and his administration should be judged based on economic growth.

"We have a growing economy," Davis said. "We have more jobs available than those who are unemployed right now. That's why we've got to get people trained and get them into the workforce."

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