- President Donald Trump added more fuel to the fight with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Trump said Trudeau’s promise not to back down from US tariffs is “going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada.”
- The back-and-forth between Trump and Trudeau highlights the growing tensions between the US and some the country’s closest allies.
After a relatively amicable summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump again fanned the flames of his growing war of words with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trump once again went after Trudeau for what Trump considers unfair trading practices. He said Trudeau’s promise to follow through with tariffs on US goods – a response to Trump’s own tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union – would hurt the Canadian economy.
During an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump recounted seeing Trudeau’s statement following the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada, during which the prime minister promised to fight back against the US’s trade restrictions.
“I get into Air Force One, the television’s on, and I see a news conference being given by the prime minister of Canada,” Trump said. “And Justin. And I said, ‘Oh that’s nice, Justin’s giving a’ – And then he talked about how they won’t be bullied. And I said, ‘What’s this all about? He didn’t do that to my face, what’s this all about?'”
While Trump expressed surprise at Trudeau’s remarks, his comments were largely in line with what Canadian officials had said since Trump’s announcement of tariffs.
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do, because Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said.
Immediately after his remarks Saturday, Trump blasted Trudeau’s statement as “dishonest & weak” on Twitter and announced the US would not be signing the joint G7 communique – a symbolic but unprecedented move.
‘That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada’
Trump addressed the fight with Trudeau during a press conference following the North Korea summit, suggesting average Canadians will pay the price.
“That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada,” Trump said. “He learned. You can’t do that. You can’t do that.”
Economists generally view tariffs as inflationary, forcing consumer prices higher and eventually hurting the economy of the country that impose the tariffs. For instance, Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are expected to cause a drag on US economic growth and result in a net loss of American jobs.
The Trump-Trudeau scuffle represents a pivot away from the once-friendly relationship between the two leaders. But despite the war of words, Trump insisted at the press conference in Singapore that the pair still “have a good relationship.”
Trudeau is not Trump’s only target in the growing trade war with the other members of the G7, which is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Trump aired grievances with each of the G7 members during the summit. Trump reportedly pointed to specific trade deficits, particularly in the trade of goods, as evidence that the other leaders were taking advantage of the US.
Trump again presented the US as the victim of unfair trade deals during the interview with ABC on Tuesday.
“But here’s what the story is: We have been taken advantage of as a country for decades by friends and enemies both,” Trump said. “We have been, our trade is a disaster, our trade deals.”