The Toronto Star is reporting that the president of the United States made off-the-record comments to Bloomberg New disparaging Canada’s negotiating position in NAFTA trade talks. The thrust of the remarks was that Trump didn’t see any need to compromise with Canada but he couldn’t say so publicly.
“Here’s the problem,” Trump said. “If I say no—the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that, and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal ... I can’t kill these people.” Trump also said, “Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala.” The Chevrolet Impala is a car made in Canada, production of which would be threatened by Trump’s proposed tariffs.
Atlantic writer David Frum, an erstwhile Canadian, speculates that Trump’s comments are bluff:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues the comments are in keeping with Trump’s tendency to disrespect democratic allies: