Peter Navarro, one of President Donald Trump's top trade advisers, said on today that it was a mistake to suggest that "there is a special place in hell" for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, offering a rare apology from a White House that nearly never walks back heated rhetoric.
"I used language that was inappropriate", Navarro was quoted as saying at a Washington event organized by The Wall Street Journal.
"I find it hard to try to apologize for words that come from the mouths of people in our government, so I don't even try", she said.
Navarro made the comment about the prime minister on "Fox News Sunday", responding to a news conference Trudeau held at the Group of Seven summit last week.
In a post-signing news conference and in an interview with ABC News, the president recounted how miffed he was to hear Trudeau's G7 wrap-up news conference, where the prime minister reiterated Canada's intention to impose counter-tariffs on USA goods in retaliation for Trump's imposition of crippling tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
"And that's what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference", Navarro said. Canadians are "polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around", Trudeau said.
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The motion calls on the House to recognize the importance of Canada's "long-standing, mutually beneficial trading relationship" with the USA, "strongly oppose" the "illegitimate tariffs" imposed on steel and aluminum, stand "in solidarity" with the Trudeau government's decision to impose retaliatory tariffs and remain united in support of the supply management system of regulating Canada's dairy and poultry industry.
On Sunday morning Navarro and Trump's director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, piled on the criticisms.
He asserted, with no evidence, that Trudeau only dared to say Canada wouldn't be pushed around because he didn't think Trump, who was on board Air Force 1 en route to Singapore, would see him.
I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau.
The insults stemmed from a closing G7 press conference on Saturday in which Trudeau called United States steel and aluminum tariffs "insulting" and pledged to proceed with previously announced retaliatory tariffs.
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"I know it didn't look friendly", Trump said.
"That's going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada", he said of Mr. Trudeau's comments. He learned. You can't do that. There was no immediate response to the apology from Trudeau.
Trump has consistently railed against what he claims are unfair trade practices by some of America's biggest trade partners, including Canada - in particular Canada's supply management system, which levels tariffs of up to 300 per cent on imported dairy products. He said the Canadian leader must not have realised that Trump had televisions on Air Force One, allowing him to monitor Trudeau's news conference at the end of the G-7 summit.
If the USA imposes a 25 per cent tariff on those exports, suddenly they don't make much economic sense, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labour and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"If it goes on for a while - and it would have to go on for a while - people might change their views, but I don't think this one incident is likely to have that effect".
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