Trump says he refused meeting with Trudeau: ‘His tariffs are too high’


President Trump claimed Wednesday that he turned down a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the two countries attempt to overcome a rift in trade policy.

“His tariffs are too high, and he doesn’t seem to want to move, and I’ve told him ‘forget about it,'” Trump told reporters during a press conference at the United Nations in New York.

“We’re very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiation style of Canada. We don’t like their representative very much,” he added in an apparent reference to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Canadian officials pushed back on Trump’s comments, saying Canada didn’t request a meeting with Trump.

“No meeting was requested. We don’t have any comment beyond that,” a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office told The Hill.

Trump and Trudeau exchanged what looked like an icy handshake earlier in the day, but the Canadian prime minister told reporters not to read anything into the quick exchange.

“I have continued to engage regularly with the president,” Trudeau said during a press conference. “We had a very good call just last week, we continue to have regular conversations whenever necessary, whenever we want to.”

Negotiators from Canada and the U.S. have held negotiations for weeks in an attempt to establish a framework for a new trade deal, but have thus far been unsuccessful. 

The Trump administration has cast doubt on whether it will withdraw from the NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Trump has said he would move on with a U.S.-Mexico deal, which has already been sent to Congress. 

Trump has repeatedly pointed to Canada’s tariffs on dairy imports as a dealbreaker, and has threatened to tax cars imported from Canada.

The president on Wednesday again threatened to slap Canada with auto tariffs if they don’t get an agreement on a renegotiated trade deal.

“I love Canada, by the way,” Trump said. “I have so many friends. But that has nothing to do with this. I’m representing the United States.”

– Vicki Needham contributed to this report, which was updated at 6:46 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump
See all Hill.TV See all Video