President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the new tariffs that are imposed on steel and aluminum imports from Canada. According to one of the sources familiar with the conversation, POTUS invoked a historical reference that was wrong.
The sources claim that Trudeau was opposing Trump, grilling him about justifying the tariffs as a “national security” issue. Trump responded: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812.
The problem with this is that it has nothing to do with the tariffs. Also, the statement was incorrect because it was the British troops who burned down the White House in 1812. The British army had to do something after the Americans attacked York, Ontario, so they invaded Washington.
One source was asked whether this was meant to be a joke and he responded: “To the degree, one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the US won’t be a laughing matter.” Meanwhile, the White House restrained from commenting, and although CNN requested an answer, the National Security Council didn’t give it immediately.
According to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, there are some short-term tensions between the United States and its Northern neighbor, but despite this conversation, the two countries remain “very good.” Kudlow said: “I have no doubt that the United States and Canada will remain firm friends and allies whatever short-term disagreements may occur.”
Trudeau denounced the “national security” justification in the interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. He said: “The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is, quite frankly, insulting and unacceptable.”
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chystia Freeland was perplexed by Trump’s comments. Freeland said: “And I would just say to all of Canada’s American friends — and there are so many — seriously? Do you really believe that Canada, that your NATO allies, represent a national security threat to you?”
As a Corker spokeswoman told CNN, Freeland met with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker in order to express her concerns regarding the new tariffs. Corker questioned Trump’s policy and his ridiculous justification. “There is no reason to use this provision to consider imposing tariffs on the automobile industry, and this appears to be either an attempt to affect domestic politics ahead of the election or for some other transactional purpose regarding ongoing trade discussions. This is a dangerous course and should be abandoned immediately,” Corker said in the statement.
As expected, POTUS wrote on Twitter, defending his decision on the newly-imposed tariffs. He said: “The United States must, at long last, be treated fairly on trade.” One of the senior administration officials didn’t want to discuss details of the conversation, but Trump and Trudeau definitely had heated moments and confrontations. The official said: “It’s understandable that change causes friction.”
Just a few months ago, Trump promised Trudeau that Northern neighbor would be exempt from the new tariffs, as the Canadian officials confirm to CNN. At one point, the US granted Canada and Mexico a reprieve from tariffs as the three countries are trying to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement known as NAFTA.
Trump said that it was concerning that the Chinese steel and aluminum arrives in Canada first and from there, it is shipped to the United States. Meanwhile, the Canadian prime minister announced increased funding and border vigilance “to prevent transshipment and diversion of unfairly priced foreign steel and aluminum into the North American market.”
The officials from Ottawa thought that this would satisfy the US president, granting them a permanent exemption from taxation. One of the Canadian officials said that they were just trying to “keep Trump happy” just ahead of the G7 Summit in Quebec. In the meantime, Trudeau didn’t want to comment Trump’s invocation of the 1812 War.