WASHINGTON - President Trump said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had "learned' from his decision to criticize U.S. trade policy even as he downplayed tensions that erupted after a recent meeting with allies.
Speaking for the first time about the acrimonious conclusion of the Group of Seven meeting in Quebec over the weekend, Trump said he felt Trudeau had mischaracterized the U.S. position in a press conference after the summit.
As he flew from Quebec to Singapore for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump responded to Trudeau's comments on Saturday by withdrawing the United States from a joint document that summarized what was agreed to at the G-7 summit.
"That's going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada,' Trump said during a lengthy press conference in Singapore on Tuesday. "He learned.'
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Trump's tough rhetoric for the leader of Canada, one of the United States' closest allies, was in sharp contrast with the words he chose to describe Kim. Wrapping up a day-long summit with the North Korean leader, Trump described him as "talented.'
The president said that Canada, Mexico and the European Union have taken advantage of an international trading system, benefiting from low U.S. tariffs while imposing high trade barriers of their own. Trump imposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum last month to rebalance trade, he said.
"We're being taken advantage of on trade,' Trump said. "Canada does have very big advantages on us in terms of trade deficits.'
In reality, the United States has a small surplus with Canada when goods and services are considered - $341.2 billion to Canada's $325.9 billion, according to 2016 statistics from the U.S. trade representative. Canada exports $300 billion worth of goods to the United States, while the U.S. exports $282.5 billion worth of goods to Canada.
Trump said the global leaders left the G-7 meeting in good spirits and said he had agreed to sign the meeting's summary document. Trump said he was surprised to watch Trudeau's press conference while aboard Air Force One as he flew to Singapore.
Trudeau said at the press conference that Canada would not be "pushed around' by the United States. Trudeau had used similar language in the past, and Canada threatened retaliatory tariffs before the G-7 got underway in response to the U.S. duties on metal.
"And I said, 'Push him around?'' Trump said, describing his reaction to the press conference. "We just shook hands!'
Trump also discussed a viral photo from the G-7 that showed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders on one side of a table with Trump, arms folded, on the other. Though the image appeared to speak to the tension between the leaders, Trump said it was captured during a discussion that was "unrelated to anything.'
"I know it didn't look friendly,' Trump said. "Actually, we were just talking."
Peter Navarro: "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...that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference." pic.twitter.com/KtqKXizBEc- FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) June 10, 2018
On Tuesday, senior economic adviser Peter Navarro walked back comments he made on Fox News Sunday that there was a "special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy' with Trump "and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. That's what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did.'
Navarro, attending an event of "The Wall Street Journal" CFO Network in Washington, was asked if he was apologizing. He said, "Yes, absolutely.'
"In conveying that message I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,' Navarro said. "I own that, that was my mistake, those were my words.'
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