White House Economic Adviser: Canada's Trudeau 'Stabbed Us In The Back'

Daniel Fowler
June 11, 2018

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro lit into Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday, saying there's a "special place in hell" for a world leader that double crosses U.S. President Donald Trump.

After Mr. Trump's departure from the G-7, Mr. Trudeau held a press conference Saturday stating that all of the member nations, including the US, had signed a communique pledging to lower tariffs and other trade barriers.

Mr Kudlow accused the Canadian PM of betraying Mr Trump with "polarising" statements on trade policy that risked making the U.S. leader look weak ahead of a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The comments, made after Trump had left to go to Singapore for his much-anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, infuriated the USA president.

Shortly after Mr. Trudeau said that he was "happy to announce that we have released a joint communique by all seven countries" indicating that the USA was also included, Mr. Trump announced that Washington would reverse its decision and not sign the statement.

"In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said when asked about Trump's decision.

France and Germany both reacted with anger to Mr Trump's decision. He reiterated his longstanding view that the USA has been taken advantage of in global trade, adding, "We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing, and that ends". Canadians, he said, "will not be pushed around".

Hours after Mr Trump withdrew his support for the joint statement and attacked Mr Trudeau, Mr Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro drove the message home on Sunday morning news shows in an extraordinary assault on a close United States ally and neighbour. "I don't understand the obsession with trade relations with Canada", he said, given that Canada is the biggest single buyer of American goods and services in the world.

Officials from European delegations quickly leaked copies of the joint statement, and it was published online moments before Trump tweeted.

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Saying Trudeau is "dishonest & weak", he also threatened "tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!" Trump has pointed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's criticism of him as a reason for withdrawing from the consensus statement.

In the week leading up to the the G-7 Summit President Trump engaged in the most Trumpian sort of diplomacy: he very publicly attacked out closest allies.

Trudeau pulled a "sophomoric political stunt for domestic consumption" that amounted to "a betrayal", said Kudlow, who appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and CBS' "Face the Nation". "We make commitments and keep them", the presidency said, adding that "France and Europe maintain their support for this statement".

At his closing press conference, Trudeau called US steel and aluminum tariffs "insulting" and pledged to proceed with previously announced retaliatory tariffs.

The office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said it stood by the communique. "The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public, and in private conversations with the president".

"Let's be serious and worthy of our people", a statement from the French presidency said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why Trump had focused his tweets on Canada and the European Union over trade disputes and on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners over defense costs and not on his talks with Kim set for Tuesday.

In a separate interview on CBS's "Face the Nation", Kudlow said the Trump had a "very successful, calm, friendly, respectful bilateral" with Trudeau and that the USA won't withdraw from Nafta.

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