Trump apparently made off-the-record comments to Bloomberg reporters while doing the interview yesterday, and those comments were leaked to a Canadian outlet as they were about his NAFTA negotiations with Canada.
POLITICO – The Toronto Star on Friday printed the comments in which Trump allegedly said he will only make a deal with Canada that is “totally on our terms.” The remarks were purportedly made to Bloomberg News during its interview with Trump at the White House on Thursday.
Trump on Thursday told Bloomberg on-the-record that Canada is “going to make a deal at some point.
“It may be by Friday or it may be within a period of time, but ultimately they have no choice,” Trump said Thursday in the interview with Bloomberg. “I think we’re close to a deal.”
The president, however, also said: “Off the record: totally on our terms. Totally,” the Star reported, citing a source.
“Again off the record, they came knocking on our doors last night. ‘Let’s make a deal. Please,’” Trump allegedly added.
Trump also reportedly said that if he did say some of his remarks on-the-record, then they would be “so insulting” that Canada would not agree on a deal.
“Here’s the problem. 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,” the president said of the Canadian government, according to the Star.
First of all, Trump has said much worse. But these comments could be disruptive to his negotiations.
Secondly, the media apparently doesn’t respect ‘off the record’ with Trump any longer. While they didn’t publish them, leaking them to another outlet that then publishes them is just as bad.
Thirdly, Trump is a bonehead for making off-the-record comments in the first place. He knows the media is out to get him. But he loves to brag so much, apparently, that he just says these things. He needs to learn that all of the media is not his friend, and he should treat them as such and stop making off-the-record comments.
Canada has responded to the leaked comments:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at an event in Oshawa, Ontario, was asked about Trump’s comments, to which he said that Canada is “going to remain constructive, positive, serious and creative about what we do around the negotiating table, in what we do in relation with the United States.”
He added that Ottawa will “demonstrate that we understand that the path forward is one of making sure that there’s a win-win-win on all sides.”
“We are also going to be unequivocal about always standing up for Canadians’ rights and Canadians’ interests,” the prime minister said.
And so has the White House:
“The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries,” White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement after the remarks were made public.
Walters did not respond to questions from POLITICO about the authenticity of the comments. But she told the Star, “If this was said, it was said in an off the record capacity. I understand you guys have obtained it; I’m not sure where you’ve obtained it from.” She also said that she was looking into “the authenticity of what was said.”
Thankfully Canada is taking the high road in all of this, publicly. Trump is probably right about them, that they really do want a deal. And it sounds like they aren’t going to let inflammatory off-the-record comments stand in the way.
But Trump should really learn a lesson from this. Stop boasting.