Donald Trump is busy trying to piece the NAFTA trade deal back together under a new name, after he announced last week that he was terminating NAFTA. He appears to be trying to create the illusion that he’s crafting something new and better, in the hope that people who aren’t paying attention will fall for it. The trouble: he can’t seem to get Canada on board with the stunt – and thanks to a remark he made to a reporter, it’s now gone horribly wrong for him.
Team Trump walked into negotiations with Canada today, only for Canada to spring his own words on him, which he had said to a Bloomberg reporter in an off the record remark. This quickly gave Canada the upper hand in the negotiations, while making Trump look rather stupid. Apparently Trump had told the reporter that he wasn’t actually planning to compromise with Canada on anything in these negotiations. Once Canada learned as much, it had nothing to lose by blowing up the negotiations in an attempt at forcing Trump to start over. After the incident, Trump posted this unhinged tweet: “Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!” However, that’s not quite what happened.
Daniel Dale, who has been doing a strong job of reporting on Donald Trump’s scandals for the Toronto Star, then revealed on Twitter what really happened: “I obtained these quotes. I’m not bound by Bloomberg’s ‘off the record’ promises. I asked the White House and the Trudeau team for comment. The Trudeau team, which is certain the quotes are accurate, sprung them on Trump’s team at the meeting this morning.” Dale then went on to quote a White House spokesperson, who was unhappy about the situation. Then he revealed that the spokesperson had tried to retroactively claim that her comments were also off the record, when they weren’t. Dale added “I won’t be commenting on the source of the leaked quotes.”
So we don’t know the precise series of events that led to Donald Trump getting burned. But we do know that because Trump was eager to make himself look strong in front of a reporter, the end result was that his weak hand was revealed for all to see – and for the Canadian government to use against him. Trump spends a lot of time insisting the media can’t be trusted, yet he nonetheless recklessly insists on trying to impress his interviewers.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report