Dana Perino tells audience to “Expect the Unexpected”
Actions of the new administration are like “a dog on ice chasing a marble,” Dana Perino told an audience at the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 3. “You have to expect the unexpected.”
Perino spoke to many of the more than 9,000 cattlemen and women at the event – a record number of attendees for any cattle industry convention – at Friday’s general session. The previous convention record was in Nashville in 2014, at just under 8,300.
Renowned ag broadcast journalist Max Armstrong emceed the event, and introduced National Cattlemen’s Beef Association incoming president Craig Uden of Nebraska. Uden briefly visited with Armstrong about his vision for the organization and the industry. High Fidelity, a Nashville a capella singing quartet sponsored at the session by Norbrook, Inc., sang patriotic songs to open and close the event.
Perino was the press secretary for President George W. Bush for seven years and is now a panelist on The Five, which airs daily on the Fox News Channel. Her exposure to the Washington scene brought an insider’s knowledge as keynote speaker at the general session, which was sponsored by Laird Manufacturing. Having grown up in Colorado and Wyoming, she said she felt “right at home” in front of the audience of thousands of cattlemen and women.
Perino said the recent presidential election was unique. The odds of getting an inside straight are 254 to 1, she told the audience, and those are the kind of odds Trump beat to win the presidency. “It was a hard hand to play, and he played it perfectly,” she said. While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, she didn’t win states she needed, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. For two years she didn’t visit Wisconsin, Perino said, and she should have listened to her volunteers in the state, instead of her statisticians, who said the state was safe.
According to Perino, cattle producers should work to make sure they “get in front of the administration as much as possible” on things like trade. She suggested giving away the upper hand in trade to China through destruction of the TPP was not a good idea, but “he (Trump) can change his mind.”
“Government doesn’t work just like a business,” she said, adding that she hoped “things would settle down for them.” Donald Trump “thrives on chaos,” according to Perino. At some point, however, things will get calmer “or the chaos will take over.”
Perino was also confident that the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the country’s highest court would be successful. “Mark my words,” she said, “he will get confirmed to the Supreme Court.”
More than 350 exhibitors featured their wares and services on more than seven acres at the NCBA Trade Show, which wraps up Friday, Feb. 3. The 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show started Wednesday, Feb. 1, and wraps up with the NCBA Annual Meeting on Saturday, Feb. 4.