Trump reportedly bragged about bluffing to Trudeau to play him in trade talks

Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau at the White House in February 2017.

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Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau at the White House in February 2017.
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Reuters/Carlos Barria

  • The Washington Post reports that leaked audio of a fundraising speech recorded President Donald Trump recounting a conversation with Justin Trudeau.
  • He reportedly described contradicting Trudeau’s claims the about a trade deficit despite not knowing the facts.

President Donald Trump, who has always prided himself on his skills as a dealmaker, bragged on Wednesday about making up facts while seeking to get the better of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in trade talks, according to The Washington Post.

The Post said it obtained audio of a private fundraising speech Trump made in Missouri in which the president portrayed Trudeau as trying to convince him that the US had no trade deficit with Canada, a fact Trump apparently refused to accept despite having no idea whether it was true.

“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,'” Trump said while mimicking Trudeau, according to The Post.

Trump reportedly continued:

“I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.'”

Trump then said, according to The Post’s reporting on the audio, that his aide returned and reported that the US had a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada when energy and timber sales were factored in.

As The Post pointed out, however, the Office of the United States Trade Representative maintains that the US has a trade surplus with Canada, the US’s biggest trading partner, with whom it does more than $300 billion in bilateral business annually.

Trump has embarked on a massive campaign to restructure US trade globally with protectionist practices that include heavy tariffs on foreign imports. Canada and Mexico scored considerable wins when Trump decided to exempt them from recently introduced tariffs on steel and aluminum.