At a fundraising speech in Missouri on Wednesday night, Trump told donors the bizarre story of his recent meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during which Trump claimed the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada even though he wasn’t sure if it did. He then found out that it didn’t, but still tried to claim that it did.
According to audio of the private event obtained by The Washington Post, Trump recounted his meeting with Trudeau this way:
“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 said. “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.”
The U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada—in 2016, the surplus stood at $12.5 billion. And yet Trump tweeted this in response to the Post’s story: