President Donald Trump told the world on Friday just how much he likes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
At a Pensacola, Florida rally Friday night, Trump revealed some of his closed-door conversations with Trudeau. But like him or not, that won’t prevent Trump from sinking the NAFTA renegotiations that are continuing through some very turbulent waters.
“We’re gonna hopefully keep NAFTA. But there’s a chance we won’t. And that’s okay,” Trump told the rollicking crowd.
“I like the prime minister very much. Prime Minister Trudeau. Nice guy. Good guy. No, I like him. But we had a meeting… He said, ‘No, no, you have a trade surplus.’ I said, ‘No we don’t.’ He said, ‘No, no you have a trade surplus,'” Trump said.
The president recalled that Trudeau insisted “that Canada has a deficit with the United States.” But Trump responded “in front of my people — I said, ‘Go out and check.’”
Although Trump agreed that Trudeau was right to a point, he said the prime minister had “forgot two categories: lumber timber and energy” which, when added together, amounted to a $17 billion deficit with Canada.
Trump’s interpretation of the data is being roundly criticized by the Canadian media Saturday, with the widely-distributed Canadian Press report saying that Trump “sprinkled his tale with some questionable statistics about international trade.”
According to statistics that Canadian Press obtained from the office of the U.S. Trade Representatives, “The U.S. good and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016.”
Regardless of the debate, the NAFTA talks are producing little evidence of success, as Trudeau continues to insist that the agreement include references to things like climate change, and Canadian ambassador to the U.S. David MacNoughton, saying all the U.S. wants is to “take, take, take.”