Threats of Retaliation Lead to Attacks From Trump Advisers

The controversy at the G7 summit in Canada didn’t end when the meetings ended.  Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said their countries would retaliate in kind over any new tariffs put in place by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trudeau held a press conference early on Sunday and said that Canada wouldn’t be “pushed around” over Trump’s proposed tariffs. He also announced that Canada would implement its own retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. because Trump said Canada would be subject to steel and aluminum tariffs.

Merkel said on Sunday that the European Union (EU) would follow Canada’s move and put in place retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.. She said Germany and the EU had a plan to implement counter-measures to President Trump’s tariffs.

“We won’t allow ourselves be ripped off again and again. We will act too,” Merkel told German broadcaster ARD.

The long-serving and highly respected leader of Europe’s largest economy also commented on Trump’s statement that he would be implementing new tariffs on German automobiles.  “We will try to see if we can stop this from happening… And then hopefully the EU will respond again in the same unified way,” she said.

After the G7 meeting ended Trudeau said all seven nations had signed a joint communique, including the U.S.  But on his way home, Trump tweeted that the U.S. would not endorse the statement.  He also said that if the other countries don’t remove trade barriers with the U.S. then they will face consequences. 

His comments have led to a conflict between Trudeau and the Trump administration, and Merkel said she was not happy with the president’s handling of the joint communique. “The withdrawal by tweet is of course sobering and a bit depressing,” she said on Sunday.

White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro also made a direct attack on Trudeau on Sunday.

“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,” Navarro said on “Fox News Sunday.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow attacked Trudeau for criticizing steel and aluminum import tariffs imposed by the U.S. and said the prime minister’s statements were “a betrayal.”

“You just don’t behave that way, OK? It is a betrayal, OK? He is essentially double-crossing – not just double crossing President Trump, but the other members of the G-7, who were working together and pulling together this communique,” Kudlow said.

“President Trump played that process in good faith,” he said. “So, I ask you, he gets up in the airplane and leaves. And then Trudeau starts blasting him in a domestic news conference? I’m sorry. It is a betrayal. That is a double-cross.”

Comments from Navarro and Kudlow attacking Trudeau led Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to respond by saying that Canada doesn’t find such attacks “appropriate or useful.”

“Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries,” Freeland said on Sunday.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also condemned Navarro’s comments, saying they reflected poorly on the Republican Party. “This is not who we are. This cannot be our party,” Flake said.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also blasted the Trump advisers.  He said Kudlow’s and Navarro’s attacks on Trudeau were based on lies.

“Trudeau didn’t pick a fight. This is a lie just like all the others,” Murphy said. “Trump is making the United States a global laughingstock, drying up our credibility/influence so badly that the next President can’t get it back.”

Leo Vidal

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