Trump hails unions, touts trade moves in Labor Day message

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE heralded labor unions and pushed his administration's protectionist trade agenda in an annual Labor Day proclamation released ahead of the holiday weekend.

Trump touted the spirit of the American worker and referred to American workers as the "bulwark of our national prosperity" in the statement released by the White House late Friday.

In the proclamation, Trump argued that his recent tariffs on steel and aluminum and battles with the leaders of Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union (EU) over trade issues would strengthen the country.

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"America's workers pay our taxes, support our values, serve in our military, raise our children, protect our Constitution, and build our communities. They deserve, in return, the unwavering fidelity of their Government," Trump wrote in the proclamation.

"The deal I intend to sign [with Mexico and possibly Canada] will help create more reciprocal trade that grows our economy. It will also support high-paying jobs for American workers and protect the intellectual property of our Nation's businesses and workers," he added.

In a rare message of praise for labor unions from a GOP president, Trump lauded organized labor for "advocating for the interests of the American worker and wage-earner."

"We have kept our promise to always keep the White House door open to members and leaders of our country's labor organizations," he added.

Trump's protectionist trade policies have been roundly criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who have panned his move to impose steep tariffs on steel and other products from around the globe.

This week, the president also notified Congress of his intention to establish a new trade agreement with the governments of Mexico and possibly Canada. Other discussions with the EU on car tariffs are ongoing.

Labor unions and pro-union Democrats such as Ohio Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDark money group targets Brown over previous domestic violence claim Biz groups fracture after Dodd-Frank rollback Five biggest surprises in midterm fight MORE (D) have offered the most vocal praise for Trump's trade moves so far, a rare show of bipartisan policy in the Trump administration.

"I intend to enter into a trade agreement with Mexico — and with Canada if it is willing, in a timely manner, to meet the high standards for free, fair, and reciprocal trade contained therein," Trump said in the notice to the House earlier Friday.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday that the country is making progress on a deal with the U.S., adding "but we are not there yet."

"Once we have a good deal for Canada we'll be done," Freeland said.