- Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade adviser, apologized for saying there was a “special place in hell” for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Navarro’s’ attack came amid a war of words over trade between Trump and Trudeau.
- “In conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,” Navarro said.
Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s hardline trade adviser, walked back inflammatory comments about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday at a conference in Washington, DC.
“In conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,” Navarro said at the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network summit. “I own that; that was my mistake, my words.”
His apology comes amid a war of words between Trump and Trudeau after the G7 summit in Canada.
At a press conference Saturday, Trudeau recommitted to imposing retaliatory tariffs on US goods in response to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it something that we absolutely will do,” Trudeau said. “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
The remarks caused Trump to bash the Canadian leader on Twitter and refuse to sign the official G7 communique – a mostly symbolic but important gesture.
“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around,'” Trump tweeted. “Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!”
Navarro piled on Trudeau during a Fox News interview on Sunday.
“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,” Navarro said. “And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did.”
Navarro wasn’t the only Trump official to go after Trudeau. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow also lambasted the Canadian prime minster during a CNN interview on Sunday.
‘He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow said. “He really, actually – you know what? He did a great disservice to the whole G7.”
Trump also kept up the fight with Trudeau during the trip to Singapore for the historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump told reporters at a press conference following the summit that Trudeau’s comments “cost a lot of money for the people of Canada.”
Trump’s decision to pull support from the official communique further alienated the US from the rest of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK. The fight also seriously raises the likelihood that the current round of tariffs could escalate into a full-blown trade war.