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Even Trump's Fellow Republicans Not on His Side with Regards to Feud with Trudeau
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12 Jun 2018 06:02 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Sonny Perdue (Image source: Public domain)

 

 

Perhaps Donald Trump was looking too far in front of him. He seemed to be looking past the G7 summit and his relationship with six allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and looking more towards starting a new relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  

Regardless, he made an enemy in Trudeau, or at least soured the relationship with him and his country. And that's left his administration to try and pick up the pieces and left others in the GOP concerned.

 

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has plans to head to Canada later this week and will meet with the Canadian equivalent, Lawrence MacAulay. It's reportedly so it will look like all is well, but this is after Trump was critical of the high tariffs in Canada on dairy products from the U.S. 

However, A USDA spokesperson insists this visit was scheduled before Trump made a mess of things with Canada and that the visit falls in line with other meetings Perdue has had in Mexico and Canada throughout the last year.

 

Monday morning Perdue tweeted he was "looking forward to visiting my friend & Canadian counterpart @L_MacAulay at Prince Edward Island later this week." MacAulay, for his part posted a photo of the two of them and said he's "proud to be welcoming my friend" to discuss cooperation. 

This is after White House aides this weekend were supportive of Trump's worsening relationship with Trudeau. Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, even said "there's a special place in hell" for the prime minister, noting he'd taken part in "bad-faith diplomacy" with the president.

 

Economic adviser Larry Kudlow did the same. He said in a CNN interview that Trudeau "really kind of stabbed us in the back" after the prime minister had said his country planned to retaliate with tariffs on some U.S. exports. 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer talked with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Sunday night about the NAFTA renegotiation, which definitely seemed troubled before that. Freeland's spokesperson felt the phone call was "productive and cordial."

 

Freeland will be traveling to D.C. on Wednesday to meet with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after Chairman Bob Corker requested the visit.  

But not everyone is willing to push this whole thing under the rug and just move on and try to fix it quietly. Many in the GOP are speaking up against the war of words that transpired over the weekend after the G7 summit.

 

Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, who supports free trade, was critical of Navarro, describing what he said as "inappropriate and out of line." He added, "It shows he's the wrong person to be advising the president on critical trade issues." 

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch [R-UT] was asked if he was concerned about the relationship between the U.S. and Canada and replied, "Of course." He went on to say Navarro "should have kept his big mouth shut because I don't think that helps us in foreign policy. And frankly, I think that's out of line." He added that Trump's part in the G7 summit "could have been handled a lot better."

 

Sen. Mike Rounds [R-SD] asked, "What was it that [Trudeau] did that was so offensive that it required that type of a comment?" He added, "This was very disconcerting. And I do not like to see that type of language being used without having a real strong basis for it." 

"I'm concerned because Canada has been a reliable ally, a close friend, and one of our biggest trading partners. Now, those of us from Maine are very aware that there have been frictions," stated Sen. Susan Collins [R-ME].

 

But while she admits her state has disputed the trade of lobsters and other goods with Canada, "those issues deserve attention, but we don't need to alienate Canada in the process." 

Trump even tried to defend his position with Sen. Pat Toomey [R-PA]. He called him from Singapore to discuss their disagreement on trade. Toomey reports he was told, "These 232 tariffs that you don't like, Pat, this is how I get leverage over Canada. This is why I need that."

 

But Toomey later told a radio show, "What [Trump] really wants, I'm afraid, is to kill NAFTA." 

"I am pretty sure that circles of hell are not reserved for Canadians imposing retaliatory tariffs," said Sen. Ted Cruz [R-TX]. He thinks the focus should remain on the trade policy itself rather than feisty comments regarding it.

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