US President Donald Trump has launched a ferocious attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling his behaviour during G7 meetings “meek and mild” and accusing him of issuing “false statements” at his closing press conference.”
The Twitter attack came just hours after Trudeau publicly contradicted several sweeping assertions made by Trump earlier in the day on issues including NAFTA renegotiations and the president’s contentious demand for a sunset clause in the deal.
Trump began by contradicting Trudeau’s announcement earlier Saturday that G7 countries had agreed to an “ambitious” joint communique, tweeting that Trudeau’s “false statements” at his press conference prompted him to instruct U.S. officials “not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!”
He then lashed out at Trudeau for labelling U.S. tariffs “insulting,” and said the tariffs were in direct response to Canadian tariffs on American dairy.
In reality, Trump has previously stated that the tariffs imposed on May 31 on Canadian steel and aluminum are because producers here pose a “national security threat” to the United States, something Trudeau has repeatedly called “absurd.”
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement shortly after.
“We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the #G7 summit,” said spokesperson Cameron Ahmed on Twitter.
“The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn’t said before – both in public, and in private conversations with the President.”
Trump said prior to the G7 summit that Trudeau was being “indignant” in bringing up the history of U.S.-Canada ties while ignoring Canada’s dairy tariffs.
Trump left the summit early, but not before delivering a warning to America’s trading partners not to counter his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Both Canada, Mexico and the European Union have vowed to do so, with Canadian tariffs worth $16.6 billion set to go into effect on July 1.
It is not clear now whether Trump’s vicious attack might spur the Canadian government to implement those tariffs sooner.
Despite Trump’s threat, summit host Trudeau pushed back and said he would not hesitate to retaliate against his neighbour to the south.
“Canadians are polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said, insisting that while Trump “will continue to say what he says at various occasions,” G7 leaders still managed to make progress on a “broad range” of issues.
“If they retaliate, they’re making a mistake,” Trump declared before departing the summit.
Trudeau also said he reiterated to Trump that tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. He said unleashing retaliatory measures “is not something I relish doing” but that he wouldn’t hesitate to do so because “I will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.”
The issue of trade was the most controversial heading into the summit, with Trump launching repeated attacks on Canada and the EU in the days leading up to his arrival.
Both countries are challenging his steel and aluminum tariffs at the World Trade Organization.
Steel and aluminum even got a special mention in the joint communique agreed to by the seven countries before Trump’s volatile shift in mood.
The letter called for “the start of negotiations – this year – to develop stronger international rules on market-distorting industrial subsidies and trade-distorting actions by state-owned enterprises.”
It also called on members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to implement its recommendations and avoid excess supply in other sectors, including aluminum.
In addition, the communique took aim at Russia over its nerve agent attack on a former double agent in England earlier this year.
“We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation,” the communique reads.
Russia was kicked out of what was formerly known as the G8 in 2016 for its illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Trump, however, called on Thursday for Russia to be allowed back in – a suggestion Trudeau minced no words in shooting down on Saturday in his closing press conference.
He said the potential of welcoming Russia back into the group was “not something we are even remotely interested in.”