‘Special place in hell’: U.S. president’s aides hurl insults at Trudeau
Unprecedented attacks on Canadian prime minister intended as a show of strength to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un
WASHINGTON—TOP aides to U.S. President Donald Trump hurled public and personal insults at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday in a QUEBEC CITY—U.S. President Donald Trump greeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warmly Friday morning as he arrived at the G7.
Although he’d tweeted grumpily the night before that Trudeau was “so indignant” about American tariffs, Trump looked happy to see the prime minister. They shook hands and smiled for baffling and unprecedented attack that one of them suggested was intended as a show of strength to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The insults were by far the harshest words Trump’s administration has levelled at any allied leader. They demonstrated a level of public vitriol not seen in Canada-u.s. relations in more than 50 years.
Trump began the onslaught with a Saturday tweet in which he called Trudeau “dishonest and weak.” In Sunday interviews on CNN and the cameras, as all eyes were on them.
Coming into the summit, Trump had already angered allies with his decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from some of America’s key allies, including Canada. At talks on the economy Friday afternoon, one official from a European G7 delegation said Trump aired a string of “grievances” about trade. The others responded in kind, Fox News, Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and senior trade adviser Peter Navarro used still more disparaging adjectives — “amateurish,” “rogue,” “sophomoric” — and vaguely accused Trudeau of a “doublecross” and “betrayal.” Navarro delivered the most incendiary comment: “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.” the official said.
All leaders in their final news conferences referenced that afternoon’s trade talk as “frank” and direct. Those frictions on trade continued into the Friday evening meeting between Trump and Trudeau, one that started off cordially.
As Canadian officials tell it, Trudeau went over all of Canada’s arguments in opposition to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, even though the
Trudeau declined to respond directly, saying on Twitter that what truly “matters” is the accomplishments of the G7.
The Trump fury was especially bizarre because it did not seem to be prompted by anything Trudeau had done.
Kudlow and Navarro claimed the problem was Trudeau’s post-g7 press conference — in which, as a New York Times reporter present noted with puzzlement, the prime minister criticized Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs in the same restrained Canadians had the feeling the American team had already “done some homework about how the Canadian public had reacted” to tariffs. In the end, a summit meant to patch trade rifts ended with a deeper acrimony and questions about the Canada-u.s. relationship and how it could recover in the crucial weeks ahead. manner he had been employ- ing all week. Kudlow eventu- ally offered a kind of explana- tion: Trudeau’s criticism had made Trump look weak, he said, and Trump does not want to be seen by Kim as weak when they hold their summit on Tuesday.
“Kim must not see Amer- ican weakness. It’s that short,” Kudlow said. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un converged on this island city-state Sunday ahead of one of the most unusual and highly anticipated summits in recent world history: a Tuesday sit-down meant to settle a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.
Trump descended from Air Force One into the steamy Singapore night, greeting officials and declaring he felt “very good,” before he was whisked away to his hotel, driving along a route lined with police and photo-snapping onlookers. Trump travelled to Singapore from Canada, where he attended a meeting of the Group of Seven .
Hours earlier, a jet carrying Kim landed, and after shaking hands with the Singapore foreign minister, Kim sped through the city’s streets in a limousine, two large North Korean flags fluttering on the hood, surrounded by other black vehicles with tinted windows and bound for the luxurious St. Regis Hotel. Trump has said he hopes to win a legacy-making deal with the North to give up their nuclear weapons.
The North, experts believe, stands on the brink of being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nucleararmed missiles.
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KIM AND TRUMP LAND IN SINGAPORE AHEAD OF SUMMIT
In a news conference Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump said his relationships with his G7 counterparts were strong. Later in the evening, Trump refused to endorse the G7 communiqué.