An audio tape has emerged in which U.S. President Donald Trump boasts that he made up facts about trade in a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The speech made yesterday was reported by the Washington Post and was released by NBC.
‘I didn’t even know’
In it, Trump said that after Trudeau told him the U.S. does not have a trade deficit with Canada, he replied, “Wrong Justin, you do.” Trump then added “I didn’t even know…I had no idea.”Listen
(Trump audio courtesy NBC via CBC)
This comes at a time when Trump has repeatedly complained that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada in spite of the fact that his own 2018 “Economic Report of the President” contradicts that. The document that Trump himself signed states that Canada is one of the few countries in the world with which the U.S. has a surplus.
Trump bullies Canada on trade
Trump has repeatedly warned he will tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States unless concessions are made in favour of the U.S. Ongoing negotiations on the agreement have been long and difficult.
Trade with the U.S. is critical for Canada, given that it accounts for 64 per cent of Canada’s total merchandise trade with the world. Politicians and business leaders in both countries argue that disruption of trade between the two would kill jobs and hurt economies in both countries.
‘Shame on you,’ says former U.S. ambassador
The former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman condemned Trump’s comments on Twitter, accusing him of “casually throwing Canada under the bus.” In another tweet he wrote, “Canada has been there for us thru thick and thin. How can you casually damage this relationship? Shame on you!”
With files from CBC and Canadian Press.