Economic advisers for President Trump blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Sunday on talk shows, claiming Trudeau had undercut The Donald’s He-Man appearance of strength approaching his summit with noted Master of the Universe, Kim Jong-un.
According to Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, Trudeau’s statements at a press briefing after the G-7 assembly was a “betrayal.” Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, said there was “a special place in hell” for foreign leaders who betray Trump.
The comments surely broadened the trade policy rift between the U.S. and Canada, which has — along with Mexico and the European Union — attacked the President’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
In true Trump fashion, he refused to sign the G-7 communique after the weekend’s meeting.
Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
At a press briefing, Trudeau called Trump’s tariffs — implemented on the basis of national security — “kind of insulting.” Furthermore, he vowed to respond with tariffs against the U.S., promising that Canada “will not be pushed around.”
Kudlow’s first condemnation of Trudeau occurred during his appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. He asserted Trudeau’s lambasting of Trump was inappropriate due to its divisive nature as well as the President’s impending meeting in Singapore with Kim:
“You just don’t behave that way, okay? It is a betrayal, okay? He is essentially double-crossing — not just double-crossing President Trump, but the other members of the G-7, who were working together and pulling together this communique.
“President Trump played that process in good faith. So, I ask you, he gets up in the airplane and leaves. And then Trudeau starts blasting him in a domestic news conference? I’m sorry. It is a betrayal. That is a double-cross.
“POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around. Kim must not see American weakness.
“And this is a case where Trudeau — it was like, I don’t know, pouring collateral damage on this whole Korean trip. Trudeau made an error. He should take it back. He should pull back on his statements and wish President Trump well in the Korea negotiations.”
Guesting on Fox News, Navarro labeled Justin’s remarks “one of the worst political miscalculations of a Canadian leader in modern Canadian history.”
And not just that, but this:
“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.
“He did him a favor and he was even willing to sign that socialist communique. And what did Trudeau did — do as soon as — as soon as the plane took off from Canadian airspace, Trudeau stuck our president in the back. That will not stand.”
Though Trudeau didn’t respond, his Foregin Minister Chrystia Freeland made clear at a news conference she wasn’t a fan of the talk show takedowns:
“Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries.”
Kudlow and Navarro are right. Going into the summit with Kim Jong-un, attacks on Trump don’t help America’s position. At the same time, however, Kim is reportedly fearful of assassination, hence his trepidation to meet at all. Moreover, the President has made clear on a number of occasions that he carries a big stick. And Justin Trudeau can’t transform it into a toothpick.
Personally, I didn’t perceive the G-7 to have been — at least on its face — worth the President’s time in the first place. You can read about that here.
Either way, the world spins further, and the summit with North Korea looms, with G-7 an increasingly-shrinking vestige in the rear view mirror of international events.
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