White House takes up fight against ‘back-stabbing’ Trudeau


Associated Press

QUEBEC CITY

Bashing the leader of one of America’s venerable allies, the White House escalated its trade tirade and leveled more withering and unprecedented criticism Sunday against Canada’s prime minister, branding Justin Trudeau a back-stabber unworthy of President Donald Trump’s time.

“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,” Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro said in an interview nationally broadcast in the United States.

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said her country “does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks.”

The verbal volleys by Navarro and Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, picked up where Trump left off Saturday evening with a series of tweets from Air Force One en route to Singapore for his nuclear summit Tuesday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Kudlow suggested Trump saw Trudeau as trying to weaken his hand before that meeting, saying the president won’t “let a Canadian prime minister push him around. ... Kim must not see American weakness.”

Just as the Trudeau-hosted Group of Seven meeting of the world’s leading industrialized nations had seemed to weather Trump’s threats of a trade war, the president backed out of the group’s joint statement that Trudeau said all the leaders had come together to sign. Trump called Trudeau “dishonest & weak” after Trudeau said at a news conference that Canada would retaliate for new U.S. tariffs.

Trudeau didn’t respond to questions about Trump when the prime minister arrived at a Quebec City hotel Sunday for meetings with other world leaders, though Freeland later told reporters that “we don’t think that’s a useful or productive way to do business.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking Sunday to German public television, said she found Trump’s tweet disavowing the G-7 statement “sobering” and “a little depressing.” Merkel, whose nation is a G-7 member, also said the European Union would “act” against the U.S. trade measures, which European leaders regard as going against the rules of the World Trade Organization.

Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Trudeau, jabbed on Trump on Twitter: “Big tough guy once he’s back on his airplane. Can’t do it in person. ... He’s a pathetic little man-child.”

Trudeau said he had reiterated to Trump, who left the G-7 meeting before it ended, that tariffs would harm industries and workers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

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