I can’t underscore this enough, leaking an embarrassing story about the president that you are negotiating a trade deal with is stupid. Especially a president often described as having a thin skin when it comes to his public image.
But leaking that embarrassing story to the reporter and network he hates the most is without a doubt the dumbest thing I have seen this, or any government, do.
Canada is trying to deal with tariffs brought about by the Trump administration. We are about to host Trump as part of the G7. Why on earth would Trudeau’s team leak details of a phone call to CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Yet that is clearly what happened.
CNN is reporting that in a tense phone call on May 25th, Trump invoked the War of 1812 and the burning of the White House as a reason to consider Canada a national security threat. I’m posting a screen shot in case the story is suddenly changed.
But, but, but….it was a joke!
Now the Trudeau team is trying to back pedal, telling Canadian reporters calling about this that it was all a joke.
After speaking to three very high level sources in the government, all are telling me the call between Trump and Trudeau on May 25 was not testy and the “burning down the White House” comment was clearly intended (and received) as a joke. #cdnpoli
— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) June 6, 2018
I would hope it was a joke but the Canadian official that passed this on to Trump’s most hated reporter, Jim Acosta, said it was not.
Those comments, and the whole story, clearly come from a Canadian source.
Acosta mocks Trump.
Not only that, Acosta went on in his story to stick it to Trump about how it wasn’t Canada but actually British soldiers that burned down the White House. Sure, that’s true in a sense but ask any Canadian and they will take credit for it. Often it sounds like we take personal credit.
I don’t blame Trudeau for invoking tariffs on US goods in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel. There had to be a response and it was a quick and easy one.
But if Trudeau wants to save a trade deal with the US and remove the tariffs, this stunt is the wrong move.
Trudeau needs to be smarter than this.
What Trudeau needs to be doing is using his personal charm to get Trump alone in a room and talk to him. Trump seems to genuinely like Trudeau, use that to your advantage, to Canada’s advantage.
Insulting the president, insulting his intelligence and giving that story to a man and network Trump despises may feel good for Trudeau’s minions, but it won’t feel good for Canadian workers.
Especially if this leaves us stuck out in the cold.