In an absurd interview Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that was marked by slurred speech, arm-waving, and belligerence, President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and intensified the administration’s attacks on one of our closest allies.
The exchange was so embarrassing that some people on social media wondered if Kudlow was drunk.
“POTUS is not gonna let a Canadian prime minister push him around. Push him, POTUS, around,” Kudlow said. “He is not gonna permit any show of weakness on the trip to, uh, negotiate with North Korea.”
Kudlow called comments at a Saturday news conference in which Trudeau promised that Canada would enact “retaliatory measures” on July 1 in response to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs “a betrayal.”
“He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Trump’s adviser said of Trudeau.
At the news conference, the Canadian prime minister had said, “I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it something that we absolutely will do,” according to CNN. “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
Kudlow appeared to be making the argument that Trudeau intentionally embarrassed Trump to weaken his position at a Tuesday summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“Kim must not see American weakness,” Kudlow told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “And you know, Jake, you’ve covered the beat for so long, how many times has President Trump said, ‘If you hit me, I’m gonna hit you back.’ OK? And this was a case with Trudeau, it was like, I don’t know, pouring collateral damage on this whole Korean trip.”
Kudlow wasn’t the only Trump administration official talking shit about Canada on Sunday. White House Director of Trade Policy Peter Navarro said on Fox News Sunday, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”
He added: “And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One.”
The comments from the president’s advisers follow similar Twitter attacks against Trudeau by Trump the previous day. “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” Trump wrote in one of two tweets criticizing the Canadian prime minister.
In response to the Trump administration’s multi-staff, multiday meltdowns, Canada ended up looking like the adult in the room.
“Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, according to CBC. “The most important thing is deeds rather than words.”
On Twitter, criticisms of Sunday’s media blitz by the administration—particularly Kudlow’s performance—were abundant.
“Good grief. Another one drinks the kool-aid,” wrote CNN contributor and Trump critic Ana Navarro. “Now Kudlow joins Giuiliani in the ranks of senile, crazy uncles ranting and raving around the Thanksgiving table.”
“Historians: is there any kind of precedent for a White House official going on TV and calling an ally prime minister ‘sophomoric,’ ‘rogue,’ ‘amateurish,’ ‘cheap,’ a ‘double-cross’er and betrayer?” asked Toronto Star correspondent Daniel Dale.
Nope. No, there isn’t.