President Donald Trump’s new economic adviser called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “left-wing crazy guy,” even as he praised Canada as “perhaps America’s greatest ally.”
As the Toronto Star reports, Larry Kudlow, an economist and longtime CNBC host, made the comment March 2 on CNBC while praising the North American Free Trade Agreement and criticizing Trump’s plan to impose aluminum and steel tariffs. Trump has since decided to exempt Canada from the tariffs.
“NAFTA is the key,” Kudlow said. “And unfortunately we’re going after a major NAFTA ally, and perhaps America’s greatest ally, namely Canada. Even with this left-wing crazy guy Trudeau, they’re still our pals. They’re still our pals. Why are we going after them?”
Trump has consistently praised Trudeau, once remarking that he was doing a “spectacular” job.
Kudlow unabashedly supports free trade. He frequently cites NAFTA as integral to American prosperity — putting him at odds with a president who has called it one of the worst economic deals in history. As CBC News notes, He recently told radio host John Batchelor, “My greatest fear … is not the steel thing but that we will walk away from NAFTA — which I think would be a calamitously bad decision.”
Trump is well aware of the policy differences, and they are one of the reasons he hired Kudlow, telling reporters Tuesday, “We don’t agree on everything, but in this case, I think it’s good. I want a divergent opinion. He now has come around to believing in tariffs as also a negotiating point.”