While offering an olive branch to the Democratic Republic of Korea, Donald Trump decided to brandish a stick at our neighbors to the north, threatening to punish Canadian citizens for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reluctant response to Trump’s reckless imposition of tariffs on our closest trade partners.
“That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada. He learned. You can’t do that. You can’t do that!” complained Trump while speaking to the press this morning.
Later on, in a one-on-one interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, he repeated his threats, saying that “I actually like Justin, you know, I think he’s good, I like him, but he shouldn’t have done that. That was a mistake. That’s going to cost him a lot of money.”
His comments come after a weekend of tensions and a nasty back-and-forth between an increasingly furious Trump and a bewildered Trudeau.
President Trump’s recent imposition of enormously unpopular tariffs on our trading partners has been a source of great contention between Canada and the United States; during the G7 summit last weekend he doubled down on his reckless protectionism by delivering an ultimatum to the assembled leaders:
“They have no choice. I’ll be honest with you, they have no choice. We’re going to fix that situation. And if it’s not fixed, then we’re not going to deal with these countries. We’re the piggy bank that everybody is robbing. And that ends” said Trump, threatening to cut them off from American markets entirely if they don’t reduce their trade barriers.
Blistering with defiance, Trudeau later sent a sharp warning to Trump, reminding him that “Canadians: we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
It now appears that Trump and his bruised ego have decided to take his frustration out by threatening the Canadian people as a whole. His words are a sharp reminder that while the show he put on in Singapore with Kim Jong-un may have seemed like progress, all it would take was one confrontational statement to send Trump into a paroxysm of rage and send us back to square one.