I was puzzled, truly puzzled at what Justin Trudeau could have said during his closing news conference to set Donald Trump off. I watched long enough to be bored that our PM was repeating himself, saying the same old things that he had said before.
So why would Trump get so angry that he would go on a Twitter tirade and threaten to bring on new tariffs on Canadian automobiles
On Tuesday night a listener to my radio show and reader of this site sent me an article from National Newswatch that might explain it. Thanks to Roger for sending it. Thanks to Don Lenihan for pointing out what I missed.
CBC reported the story and missed it at the same time.
I can be forgiven, this tidbit was aired on CBC during the National, Canada’s third ranked national newscast in a three horse race. On a Sunday night. And it appears even CBC missed what they reported and the significance of it.
On Sunday, CBC invited CBC Ottawa Bureau Chief Rob Russo, actually quiet the fine journalist, to discuss Trump and his twitter tirade.
At 4:15 in the clip below, Russo starts to describe how the meeting, the bilateral between Trudeau and Trump is going so well that Trump waives his demand of a sunset clause. The Americans had been demanding that NAFTA expire and need to be reaffirmed every five years.
This is a bombshell that I have not heard elsewhere and quite frankly it seems to have escaped CBC how important this is.
I listened back to Trump’s news conference as he left the G7 and he said that he still wanted a sunset clause but left open the possibility of a longer timeline, said negotiations were going well and the two sides were close.
“We’re pretty close on the sunset provision,” Trump said.
“You have one group that wants to have five years and then a renegotiation, and you have another group that wants longer because of the investments but we’re pretty close.”
From Trump to Trudeau.
Trump reportedly left the meeting thinking he had made a deal with Trudeau and had made a gracious gesture. Then Trudeau came out and sounded like he was fighting in his news conference when asked about the sunset clause.
I’m still not sure what Trudeau said that was different, he was sticking to his old script. But maybe that was the problem.
Trump talked about discussions and being open to different timelines, being close to a deal. Trudeau, in answer to the first question on a sunset clause sounded absolutely combative.
Here is how Lenihan describes what went on in his column.
In Trump’s mind, the decision to waive the sunset clause had been a generous act of reconciliation. Yet Trudeau publicly denigrated him just to score political points with Canadians.
Trump was livid. He found it duplicitous and humiliating. Indeed, Kudlow claims Trump was even fretting that it made him look weak just as he was going to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
So, Trump’s team is not arguing that Trudeau said something new or different at the press conference. Their claim is that at the bilateral meeting everyone agreed to move on, but that Trudeau then cheated on the agreement. This was the trigger for Trump’s tweets.
It’s a plausible idea.
I know lots of Canadians would look at all this and just say Trump should grow up, not be so thin skinned. Well, keep thinking that.
Love him or hate him, Trump is the president that Canada needs to deal with until at least 2020. And if the economy south of the border is still doing as well as it is now, we will be dealing with Trump in a second term.
In poker you don’t play the hand you wish you had, you play the hand you are dealt.
Trudeau’s Liberals, and much of the Canadian media and comentariat, need to realize this and deal with the Trump that is there.
Millions of Canadian jobs are on the line. This is too important to screw up.