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Kudlow: Trump Lashed Out at Canada as Show of Strength to North Korea

Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau

WASHINGTON — The top economic adviser at the White House said President Trump publicly lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “betrayal” because Trump wanted to display a show of strength heading into Tuesday’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

After the conclusion of the G7 summit in Quebec on Saturday, Trudeau said it’s “kind of insulting” that Trump cited national security reasons for imposing 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada and other allies. “Canadians … stood shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in far-off lands in conflicts from the First World War onward,” Trudeau told a press conference.

“Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” he added, promising retaliatory tariffs will go into effect July 1 as planned — “not something we relish doing, but it’s something that we absolutely will do.”

The previously announced list of Canada’s retaliatory tariffs includes some coffee, pizza, chocolate, toilet paper, jam, ketchup, mattresses, beer kegs, whisky, motorboats, pens, cucumbers, licorice, quiche, yogurt, mayonnaise, playing cards and maple syrup.

Trump tweeted in response, “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!”

“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!” Trump added.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Trump’s response and pulling out of the G7 communique was “completely a reaction” to Trudeau and not previously planned.

“I mean, he really kind of stabbed us in the back. He really, actually — you know what? He did a great disservice to the whole G7. He betrayed… because they were united in the G7,” Kudlow told CNN. “…We were very close to making a deal with Canada on NAFTA, bilaterally perhaps. And then we leave, and Trudeau pulls this sophomoric political stunt for domestic consumption. It pains me.”

Kudlow denied that Trump also says things for the purpose of domestic consumption, “not after you pull a treaty or a deal together.”

The communique that the Trump administration walked away from said this on trade:  “We acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies. We call 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.”

Kudlow accused Trudeau of “essentially double-crossing — not just double crossing President Trump, but the other members of the G7, who were working together and pulling together this communique.”

Kudlow then brought up North Korea, and said “POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around on the eve of this.”

“He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the — on the trip to negotiate with North Korea, nor should he,” he said, adding that the reaction to Trudeau “of course” was about North Korea, “in large part, absolutely.”

“You know, one thing leads to another… they are all related. We had done our work in — in Quebec, north of Quebec. We did our work. We worked with the Western alliance, pleased to do so. We get on the plane, and then this guy Trudeau starts blasting us,” Kudlow continued. “Kim must not see American weakness.”

“And this is a case where Trudeau — it was like, I don’t know, pouring collateral damage on this whole Korean trip. That was a part of Trudeau’s mistake. He — Trudeau made an error. He should take it back. He should pull back on his statements and wish President Trump well in the Korea negotiations.”

Trump landed in Singapore today in advance of the Kim meeting. He did not speak with reporters on the 10-hour flight.

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told Fox News this morning that there’s “a special place in hell” for Trudeau.

“Those are my words, but they’re the sentiment that was on Air Force One after that,” he said.

Trudeau tweeted this morning, “The historic and important agreement we all reached at #G7Charlevoix will help make our economies stronger & people more prosperous, protect our democracies, safeguard our environment and protect women & girls’ rights around the world. That’s what matters.”