Trump lashed out at NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, U.S. allies, global economies, threatened to pull troops out of South Korea, and boasted about lying to Justin Trudeau during a speech before a group of Republican donors.
The Washington Post reported that Trump “launched a blistering attack against major U.S. allies and global economies” and “boasted in a fundraising speech Wednesday that he made up information in a meeting with the leader of a top U.S. ally, saying he insisted to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the United States runs a trade deficit with its neighbor to the north without knowing whether that was the case.”
Trump appears to be spiraling out of control in the wake of mountains of stunning revelations the last few weeks – from the Stormy Daniels scandal to Robert Mueller’s increasingly successful investigation and several points between and last night was no exception, as Trump delivered a blistering 30-minute speech to donors in Missouri.
As per The Washington Post, who obtained an audio recording of the speech:
Trump launched a blistering attack against major U.S. allies and global economies, accusing the European Union, China, Japan and South Korea of ripping off the United States for decades and pillaging the U.S. workforce. He also described the North American Free Trade Agreement as a disaster and heaped blame on the World Trade Organization for allowing other countries to box in the United States on trade.
Trump seemed to threaten to pull U.S. troops stationed in South Korea if he didn’t get what he wanted on trade with Seoul, an ally. He said the country had gotten rich but that U.S. politicians never negotiated better deals. “We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them,” Trump said. “We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens.”
CNBC reported that: “Trump has frequently complained about the U.S.’s trade deficits with economies such as the European Union and China. He has also accused those economies of ripping off the U.S. and hurting American workers.”
The Guardian elaborated on the details regarding Trump’s remarks about Trudeau, reporting that: [Trump] – notorious for making false claims on countless issues – admitted he told Trudeau that America has a trade deficit with its neighbour when he “had no idea” if that was true.”
According to the recording, Trump told the audience that:
“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please.’”
“Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in – ‘Donald we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed … So he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know … I had no idea.”
“I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid … And I thought they were smart.”
Continuing, Trump added: “I said, ‘You’re wrong Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check because I can’t believe it.’ ‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber … And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ It’s incredible.”
However, as The Washington Post reported: “The Office of the United States Trade Representative says the United States has a trade surplus with Canada.”
The Guardian reported an actual dollar figure for the surplus, reporting that: “The office of the US trade representative states that the American goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5bn in 2016.”
CNN reported on the trade surplus as well:
According to figures provided by the Commerce Department, the US ran a $2.77 billion surplus with Canada for 2017. That figure includes oil and timber. It’s unclear what Trump was referring to with the $17 billion figure.
Trump has similarly boasted about pressing Trudeau about the US’s supposed trade imbalance with Canada before, most recently at a December rally in Pensacola, Florida. But he didn’t include the “I didn’t even know” reference, and it’s unclear whether it was an admission that he made up the claim.