President Donald Trump may have gotten the United States into a fight with one of its closest allies to impress a dictator. That was at least the suggestion from the president’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who said Trump needed to make sure no one doubts his toughness before the historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around on the eve of this,” Kudlow said. “He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea.” Why? Becaue “Kim must not see American weakness” but Trudeau’s statements amounted to “pouring collateral damage on the whole Korean trip.”
In an interview that seemed designed to escalate the crisis between Trump and his Canadian counterpart, Kudlow accused Justin Trudeau of betraying Trump after the two negotiated in “good faith” throughout the summit. Trudeau “really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow said on CNN’s State of the Union.
The United States and Canada “were very close to making a deal with Canada” but “then we leave and Trudeau pulls this sophomoric, political stunt for domestic consumption.” Shortly after Trump left the G-7 summit in Canada early, Trudeau said at a news conference that Canada will “move forward with retaliatory measures” in response to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. That led Trump to insult Trudeau on Twitter and pull the United States out of the final G-7 statement.
Kudlow wasn’t alone in pushing the message as White House trade adviser Peter Navarro espoused similar comments on Fox News 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, and that comes right from Air Force One.”
Navarro went on to suggest that Trump really didn’t want to go to the G-7 summit anyway, calling his attendance a “courtesy” to Trudeau at a time when he has “bigger things on his plate.” Trump “did him a favor,” Navarro said. “He was even willing to sign that socialist communique.”