According to audio obtained by The Washington Post of a private event in Missouri, Donald Trump told supporters that he flat out lied to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Trump said that he informed Trudeau that the US is currently running a trade deficit with Canada without knowing whether it was true or not (it isn't). Here is the transcript of the audio:
“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 [Trump mimicking Trudeau]. 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. 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.”
Apparently believing that if he says the US is running a trade deficit with Canada, then it must be true, Trump has continued to deny the fact that the US has a trade surplus with Canada -- as verified by The Office of the United States Trade Representative. From their website:
U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $627.8 billion in 2016. Exports were $320.1 billion; imports were $307.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016.
The US also had a $2.7 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2017, so it is unclear where the president is getting his numbers from.
While Trump's comments weren't made publicly, his bragging about lying to a fellow head of state to his base is yet again another glaring example of how destructive his presidency is both domestically and abroad. Trump believes negotiating with foreign leaders is akin to putting together slimy real estate deals and ripping off unsuspecting business partners -- a trait that may have made him lots of money, but won't endear him to savvy operators like Trudeau who knows exactly what he is talking about.
Contrary to what Trump believes about himself, the rest of the world see him as a bumbling idiot who is so woefully unprepared to be president that he can be easily manipulated. Trump supporters see him as being a ballsy, tough negotiator willing to "say it how it is", but the Chinese for example, regard his presidency as a unique opportunity to topple the US as the world's most powerful nation. Trump is playing in a league he has no business being in, and only those in his inner circle appear to believe otherwise.
Trump is a weak man's idea of what a strong man should be, and an idiot's idea of what a smart man should be. So successful, intelligent politicians like Justin Trudeau won't be angry about his brazen dishonesty or macho bragging. He understands that Trump isn't too bright and cannot control his ego, so will be looking for ways to take advantage of it for his country. While Trump may believe he pulled one over on Trudeau, the reality will almost certainly pan out completely differently.