President Deals has struck again, this time torpedoing negotiations with Canada by making insulting comments in private to Bloomberg News. Trump wanted the remarks kept off the record, but The Toronto Star learned of the American president’s conversation and — not being bound by the off the record agreement like Bloomberg is — decided to publish the comments.
“Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg. He deemed them off the record, and Bloomberg accepted his request not to reveal them. But the Star is not bound by any promises Bloomberg made to Trump,” the Star explained.
Trump bragged to Bloomberg that he isn’t making any compromises in his trade negotiations with Canada but that he cannot admit that publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”
“Here’s the problem. If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that, and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal … I can’t kill these people,” Trump went on to say of Canadian officials.
Evidently, he was right, as the leaking of the comments seems to have thrown a major wrench into the trade discussions. Canadian officials understandably interpreted the statements as proof that Trump’s surrogates have not been negotiating in good faith. They raised issue with them at the beginning of today’s talks.
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In his private conversation, Trump also that claimed the eventual deal would be “totally on our terms.” He said that the negotiations might conclude favorably for the United States by as early as today and that Canada really has “no choice” when it comes to the deal.
“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump claimed, referencing the fact that the vehicle in question is manufactured in Canada.
It should be pointed out that Trump’s insulting comments could just be an example of his usual bluster and braggadocio. He is fond of depicting himself as a no-nonsense tough guy, a master dealmaker. In reality, his diplomatic and negotiation skills have been found sorely lacking since he was sworn in as president.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Trump was willing to deliver terms more favorable to Canada than he claimed, and simply wanted the Bloomberg reporters to think he was being tougher than he really was. In either case, his true negotiation plans are now a moot point, since his foolish comments have leaked and made the entire trade question far more complicated. As usual, Trump has botched his responsibilities.