Trump calls Trudeau 'indignant' on eve of Canadian G7 summit debut
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, June 7, 2018 9:59AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 7, 2018 10:56PM EDT
QUEBEC -- Just hours before what's expected to be a combative Canadian debut at the G7 summit, Donald Trump accused his host Justin Trudeau of being "indignant" in an evening Twitter posting.
The U.S. president's personal attack on the prime minister heightened the potential for confrontation when the two leaders have their first face-to-face meeting in Canada on Friday after Trump's arrival. He is to planning to leave the summit early on Saturday morning before the leaders' scheduled meetings are completed, said Canadian government officials.
Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Earlier Thursday, Trudeau offered Trump some qualified kudos on his North Korea peace efforts, along with French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It gave Trump a brief respite from criticism over the punishing steel and aluminum tariffs he has imposed on his G7 partners.
But it didn't last.
Trump took to Twitter later in the evening to blast Trudeau on a range of issue tied to the ongoing trade differences between the two countries, including Trump's imposition of punishing steel and aluminum tariffs and the unresolved North American Free Trade Agreement talks.
"Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things . . . but he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy -- hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!"
Trump's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as broader disagreements on trade, climate change and the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, are setting the stage for some tense talks once Trump arrives Friday at the Quebec summit.
"We're not sugar-coating the fact that there are strong differences of opinion and there are going to be tough discussions on a number of things that we don't agree on," a senior Canadian government official said late Thursday in response to Trump's tweeting.
Earlier in Ottawa, Macron and Trudeau offered an olive branch of sorts by offering Trump a modest measure of support in his historic meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un following the G7 summit.
But they also made it clear that won't keep them from pushing Trump to end the tariffs, which they brand as illegal and bad for everyone's economy. They also reaffirmed their commitment to the world's rules-based order -- something Trump has little time for.
Indeed, Trump's earlier Twitter activity suggested he'd arrive in Quebec with his elbows up. After an early morning Twitter posting that said he was, "Getting ready to go to the G-7 in Canada to fight for our country on Trade (we have the worst trade deals ever made)" he piled on later in the evening with more.
Isn’t it Ironic? Getting ready to go to the G-7 in Canada to fight for our country on Trade (we have the worst trade deals ever made), then off to Singapore to meet with North Korea & the Nuclear Problem...But back home we still have the 13 Angry Democrats pushing the Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
"Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers," he wrote.
Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
In March, Trump first announced the imposition of tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, but he gave Canada, Mexico and the European Union a waiver. The steel tariffs also affect the other G7 member, Japan, which was never granted a waiver.
Macron came to Ottawa ahead of the G7 summit in part to talk strategy with Trudeau on how to deal with a mercurial president who likes to be liked. They found a way to praise him on North Korea, even if it was tempered by other complaints.
Trudeau offered the G7's support, saying it's important "to demonstrate the solidarity of the world's leading industrialized economies behind the president's efforts on the Korean Peninsula."
Macron said: "We'll all be behind him to support this essential initial initiative in the fight for global denuclearization."
But the French leader quickly added that Trump can't expect credibility on that file while he undoes all the good work done to date on pushing Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
"What credibility can a negotiation on the North Korean nuclear program have if we undo the negotiations of three years ago on the Iranian nuclear program?" he asked.
"Because we want President Trump to be strong and successful in his negotiation with North Korea, we want the international community to be credible on the Iranian nuclear program."
Most recently, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, following his earlier decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The nuclear agreement included Germany and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which includes France and Britain -- all G7 members.
Trump is no fan of the world's multilateral institutions, and that has him on a collision course with his fellow G7 leaders, creating the so-called G6-plus-one dynamic. Trudeau and Macron expressed strong support for those institutions Thursday.
They issued a joint declaration that affirmed the importance of the world's multilateral institutions that included a commitment "to shared values like liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law."
They also renewed their commitment to the fight against climate change and to promote democratic values, free and open trade, and gender equality.
Trudeau also spoke by phone Thursday with Giuseppe Conte, Italy's new prime minister, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.