- Reuters/Chris Wattie
- President Donald Trump on Friday responded to reports that he had privately said he wouldn’t compromise with Canada on the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
- He tweeted, “At least Canada knows where I stand!” and blamed Bloomberg reporters for leaking a private discussion, though a Bloomberg spokesperson said the company had respected the off-the-record agreement.
- NAFTA talks between US and Canadian officials remained ongoing Friday afternoon, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said officials will stay “constructive” and “positive.”
President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to confirm reports that he had privately said the US would not compromise at all with Canadian officials during negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it,” he tweeted. “At least Canada knows where I stand!”
According to The Toronto Star, Trump told Bloomberg News reporters in an off-the-record discussion on Thursday that any NAFTA deal reached would be “totally on our terms.”
Trump reportedly also suggested that Canadians would have “no choice” but to go along with the deal, because they would fear Trump might impose auto tariffs.
“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said, according to The Star. The Chevrolet Impala is produced at a General Motors plant in Canada.
But according to the leaked remarks, Trump also appeared concerned that stating his views publicly would insult Canadian leaders, who have been trying to persuade US officials to make several key concessions on NAFTA provisions.
“Here’s the problem,” Trump said, according to The Star. “If I say no – the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that, and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal … I can’t kill these people.”
The Star said that the remarks were made to Bloomberg News reporters on condition they not be published and that it had obtained them from a source and published them because it was not bound by Bloomberg’s agreement with Trump.
Though Trump appeared to blame the leak on the Bloomberg reporters, a spokesperson for the news outlet told Business Insider in a statement, “When we agree that something is off the record, we respect that.”
NAFTA talks between US and Canadian officials were ongoing Friday afternoon. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in from an event in Oshawa, Ontario, saying Canadians would continue negotiating and would remain “unequivocal” about standing up for Canadians’ interests.
“Over the past year and a half, there’s a lot of things that have been said from time to time,” he said. “I think people have noticed our government’s approach is always to stay constructive, positive, to engage on the substance of issues, and to demonstrate that we understand that the path forward is one of making sure that there’s a win-win-win on all sides.”