Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is contradicting President Trump’s claims that Bloomberg journalists leaked off the record comments on NAFTA negotiations. Trump had told Bloomberg reporters in an interview that he wasn’t going to compromise with Canada. The remarks weren’t part of the transcript of the interview that Bloomberg made public but the comments somehow got to Dale, who published them on Friday.
In the interview, Trump said that Canada “ultimately” has “no choice” but to seal a trade deal with the United States. “Off the record: totally on our terms. Totally,” Trump said, making clear he had no intention of compromising with Canada. The commander in chief freaked out at the leak, and while he was at it confirmed the reporting was accurate. “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 wrote. “At least Canada knows where I stand!”
Bloomberg put out a statement denying it had leaked the information: “When we agree that something is off the record, we respect that.” But apparently that didn’t satisfy Trump, who on Friday night wrote another tweet saying he couldn’t believe “that Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement.”
On Saturday, Dale took to Twitter to assure that he didn’t get the information about the off the record quote from the Bloomberg journalists in the room. Although Dale said he had decided not to say anything about his source for the Trump quote, he decided to speak up Saturday. “I don’t want to be party to the president’s smearing of excellent, ethical journalists. So I can say this: none of the Bloomberg interviewers was my source,” Dale wrote. In a subsequent tweet he noted he didn’t want to engage in any kind of source guessing game but “the president is incorrect when he claims he was wronged by his interviewers.”
Update on Sept. 2 at 8:05 a.m.: Bloomberg’s Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gordon sent out a tweet Sunday morning reiterating that the media outlet was not the source of the leak. “Bloomberg has not published any off-the-record portions of our interview with Donald Trump, and we have not authorized the release of any off-the-record material,” Gordon wrote. “When we agree that something is off the record, we respect that agreement.”