‘Brutal’ Canada has ‘outsmarted our politicians for decades,’ Trump says
Trump granted Canada and Mexico exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs announced on Thursday. On Saturday, he repeated his previous suggestion that the future of the exemption is tied to the outcome of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations — though the supposed justification for the tariffs is national security.
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WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump took another shot at Canada’s trade practices Saturday, alleging that Canadian leaders have taken advantage of bumbling American politicians “for decades.”
“Canada’s brutal. Canada’s really tough,” Trump said during a rambling speech on behalf of a Republican candidate, Rick Saccone, who is running in Tuesday’s hotly contested special House of Representatives election in western Pennsylvania.
“We have a big deficit with Canada, too,” Trump continued, though his own Council of Economic Advisers acknowledged in its recent annual report that, as Canadian officials have repeatedly said, the U.S. actually has a trade surplus with Canada.
“They send in timber, they send in steel, they send in a lot of things. But our farmers in Wisconsin are not treated well when we want to send things to them,” Trump said.
That appeared to be a reference to an obscure trade dispute about ultrafiltered milk, a high-protein concentrate sometimes used to make cheese and yogurt.
“Hey, and I don’t blame them. Why should I blame them? Because they just outsmarted our politicians for decades. And I don’t mean Obama — I mean all of them. Since Bush the first. And that includes — I mean that includes a lot of territory. Frankly, Ronald Reagan … For many, many years they’ve been outsmarting us.”
Trump granted Canada and Mexico exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs he announced on Thursday. On Saturday, he repeated his previous suggestion that the future of the exemption is tied to the outcome of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations – though the supposed justification for the tariffs is national security.
“They said, ‘We don’t want to pay tariffs.’ I said, ‘Let’s make a deal on NAFTA. And if you make a decent deal, a fair deal for the American worker, the American people, we will — you’ll have no problem with the tariff,’ ” he said.
Trump again dismissed concerns about a trade war. Of European Union threats of retaliatory tariffs, he said. “You can’t go even higher than you are anyway.”
Trump’s speech was both impassioned and highly unfocused, and it was littered with false claims. He devoted much of his time to criticism of the media, which he called “fake” — including an extended argument that he is “smart” and not the “Neanderthal” he believes he is made out to be. Among other insults, he called television host Chuck Todd “a sleeping son of a bitch” and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters a “very low-IQ individual.”
He also sought validation. At one point, the president asked the crowd: “Do you like me?”