President Trump spewed dramatic threats against the World Trade Organization, aka "the single worst trade deal ever made," in a Bloomberg interview on Thursday. But some of his fiercest international comments remained unshared.
A slew of insults against Canada that Trump intended to leave unpublished came to light Friday morning, after the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale obtained off-the-record comments the president made in the Bloomberg interview. Trump's comments pertain to trade negotiations with Canada, and, in the president's own words, are "so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal."
The U.S. and Mexico struck a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement earlier this week. But as Mexico's president lamented, Canada has been left out of NAFTA talks so far. Trump's off-the-record comments indicate why: He won't compromise with Canada's government to make a trade deal, but he also "can't kill these people" to get what he wants. He's apparently also trying an unusual form of negotiation:
Trump also said off the record that any deal would be “totally on our terms.”
Trump said he is scaring Canada into submission by repeatedly threatening auto tariffs, showing the Canadians “a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” which is assembled at the GM plant in Oshawa, Ontario.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 31, 2018
The Star couldn't independently verify Trump's quotes, but the Canadian government has said they're authentic. White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters pointed out that "if this was said, it was in an off-the-record capacity" and said she was looking into its accuracy. Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, who interviewed Trump, wouldn't comment beyond telling Dale that "we should respect" Trump's request to be off the record.
Dale reported that the negotiating team for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "sprung" the comments on the Trump team at a meeting Friday morning. Read more at the Toronto Star. Kathryn Krawczyk
Update 2:46 p.m. ET: Trump tweeted a response to the Star's reporting.
Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2018