‘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

StarMetro Halifax - - WORLD - Daniel Dale, Bruce Campion-smith and Tonda Maccharles TORONTO STAR Tonda Maccharles OT­TAWA BUREAU

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.

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