Inside Trump and Trudeau’s tense relationship: CBC News Exclusive
♪ ♪ [Rosemary Barton] From the very beginning Justin Trudeau knew Canada’s relationship with Donald Trump would be a challenge. And so everything was coordinated and planned right down to that first handshake. [Camera shutters] [Trump] I think I might want a handshake. [Rosemary] Trudeau describes it this way to Wherry. [Camera shutters] [Rosemary] The handshake was deemed a success. Then came the hard stuff. Namely renegotiating a trade deal with our biggest trading partner and a president determined to punish countries with tariffs. ♪ ♪ The U.S. administration was already musing about imposing steel and aluminum tariffs back in the spring of 2017. [Trudeau] There is no relationship between any two countries in the world quite as close and as integrated as Canada in the United States. [Rosemary] So when Trudeau meets Trump at the G7 in Italy he decides to raise it directly. Trump responds immediately, telling his top economic adviser Gary Cohn to make sure Canada was not on the list. But a year later, the tariffs came anyway. [Tudeau] Let me be clear, these tariffs are totally unacceptable. [Rosemary] And it was then that Trudeau perhaps realized for the first time just who he was dealing with. He describes it as a turning point. Telling Wherry: Those tariffs and the NAFTA negotiations were putting the relationship under increasing strain and every attempt was made by the Trudeau government to build relationships both inside and outside the White House. ♪ ♪ In the midst of this, Trump made his first and, so far, only trip to Canada for the G7. Trudeau viewed his job as chair was to hold the meeting together but at the closing press conference, Trudeau also made a point about those tariffs. [Trudeau] As Canadians we’re polite, we’re reasonable but we also will not be pushed around. [Rosemary] The U.S. signs on to the joint communique in spite of tense discussions described in the book. But as Trudeau’s staff begin to celebrate Trump begins to tweet. Trudeau’s first reaction was not outrage or confusion but to wonder what he had done wrong. In fact, the prime minister had said nothing new but Trump’s attack dogs began to lash out. He really kind of stabbed us in the back. There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump. [Rosemary] It was another sign the NAFTA negotiations would not be easy. And Canada’s chief political negotiator seemed to rub Trump the wrong way. [Trump] We’re very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada. We don’t like their representative very much. [Rosemary] In fact, Trump was so annoyed by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her negotiating that he went much further. The book reveals that Trump told Trudeau over the phone directly that Freeland is a quote “nasty woman.” A phrase he uses regularly to describe women he dislikes. The book also says Trump accused Freeland of talking about him to other leaders. ♪ ♪ That final push to clinch a deal Wharry reveals came in part because of the strong relationship forged between the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the prime minister’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford. It was a state-of-play document Kushner requested and Telford delivered near the end of September that showed both parties were closer than they thought. So close, that as the deadline closed in they finally reached the deal. [Trump] We have a great relationship. He’s a good man, he’s done a good job and he loves the people of Canada. [Rosemary] The government knew this meant they could finally pay attention to other things that needed it.