Trump: I Told Trudeau He Was Wrong, but Really 'I Had No Idea'

President recounts to fundraisers his debate on deficits
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2018 6:46 AM CDT
Updated Mar 15, 2018 6:59 AM CDT
President Trump talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he arrived at the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump on Wednesday gave fundraisers a little insight into his negotiating tactics when face to face with fellow world leaders. The Washington Post has audio from Trump's fundraising speech in Missouri in which the president recounts a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin," said Trump. "He said, 'No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please.'" Trump said he countered, "'Wrong, Justin, you do.' I didn’t even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, 'You're wrong.'" By the Post's account, Trump insisted that the US runs a trade deficit with Canada, though the Office of the United States Trade Representative says the US actually runs a trade surplus with its neighbor.

Trump told the fundraisers that he "sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out. I said, 'Check, because I can't believe it.'" He continued: "''Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber. … And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.' It’s incredible." (The question of whether we have a trade deficit or surplus with Canada is actually a thorny one; Bloomberg explains.) Another part of the speech that caught the attention of CNBC is Trump making an apparent threat to withdraw US troops from South Korea over trade issues. The key quote: "We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them," Trump said. "We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers between North and South Korea. Let's see what happens."

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