Canadians Not Too Happy About Trump’s Attacks On Trudeau

Not surprisingly, Canadians aren't very happy about President Trump's attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Needless to say, President Trump’s attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are not going over well in Canada, with Canadian citizens and politicians across party lines uniting normally adverse political parties:

MONTREAL — Canadians have had enough.

It takes a lot to rile people in this decidedly courteous nation. But after President Trump’s parting shots against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the day he left the Group of 7 summit meeting in Quebec, the country reacted with uncharacteristic outrage and defiance at a best friend’s nastiness.

“It was extremely undiplomatic and antagonistic,” Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, wrote in an email. “It was disrespectful and ill informed.”

“All Canadians will support the prime minister in standing up to this bully,” he added. “Friends do not treat friends with such contempt.”

Even Mr. Trudeau’s political foes rose to his defense.

“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister and the people of Canada,” Doug Ford, the Trump-like renegade who was recently elected premier of Ontario, wrote on Twitter.

Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister whom Mr. Trudeau beat to become prime minister, told Fox News on Sunday that Mr. Trump had made a mistake targeting trade relations with Canada.

“I can understand why President Trump, why the American people feel they need some better trade relationships,” he said. But, he added, “this is the wrong target.”

“I can understand why President Trump, why the American people feel they need some better trade relationships,” he said. But, he added, “this is the wrong target.”

The ink had barely dried on the communiqué after the G-7 summit meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec, when President Trump berated Mr. Trudeau on Twitter from Air Force One, accusing him of being “very dishonest and weak” and of making up “false statements.”

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Mr. Trump wrote.

As Canadians were recovering from the sting of those remarks, Mr. Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow piled on, saying on television that Mr. Trudeau had “stabbed us in the back,” betrayed Mr. Trump and made him look weak before his summit meeting on Tuesday with North Korea’s leader.

And Peter Navarro, the president’s top trade adviser, suggested on Fox News Sunday that “there’s a special place in hell” for Mr. Trudeau.


From Singapore, where he is scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea for a historic summit, Mr. Trump again took to Twitter on Monday to assail Mr. Trudeau.

“Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!),” Mr. Trump wrote. “Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out!”

Mr. Trump is not exactly popular in Canada. And the Twitter tirade threatened to inflame already boiling resentment of the president, whose anti-immigrant stances and skepticism of climate change have infuriated many in a country that prides itself on its openness and social responsibility.

Pew Research survey published last year found that Canadian antagonism toward Mr. Trump had helped reduce Canadians’ opinions of the United States to a low not seen in more than three decades, with only 43 percent of Canadians holding a favorable view of the country.

Canadians across the political spectrum said that while the world had grown used to Mr. Trump’s social media rants, the ferocity and personal tone of the insults against Mr. Trudeau had crossed a line. Some even asked whether Canadians should boycott United States products and stop traveling south of the border.

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, told reporters that Canadians should be insulted by Mr. Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, imposed because, the president said, Canada poses a national security threat to the United States.

“The national security pretext is absurd and frankly insulting to Canadians, the closest and strongest ally the United States has had,” Ms. Freeland said.

As to the biting comments made by Mr. Kudlow, she responded, “Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries.”

There has yet to be any polling out of Canada since the incident of this weekend, of course, but one can hardly doubt that the reception of the President’s remarks is going to be anything other than overwhelmingly negative. Canadians may have a reputation for being nice and polite and friendly towards Americans in general, but they are as much Canadians as those of us living here in the United States are Americans. Were a foreign leader to speak publicly about an American politician such as the President in the manner that Trump did in his post-summit Air Force One tirade, I have no doubt that we wouldn’t take it kindly to say the least. It’s also worth noting that even people who are political adversaries of Trudeau such as former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and newly-elected Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, the brother of the late Rob Ford the often colorful Mayor of Toronto, are rallying behind the nation’s head of government. Canadians generally aren’t known for getting angry, but one senses that President Trump has gotten them fairly angry.

President Trump’s Twitter attack on Trudeau, of course, is only the latest salvo in a bizarre series of steps that this President has taken that have soured relations with an ally with whom we have essentially been at peace for nearly two centuries. It began in the early days of his Administration when he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade agreement that would have included the United States, Canada, and a number of Asian nations in what would have been one of the largest multinational trade agreements in the world. In response, Trudeau’s Canadian government ended up picking up the pieces and forming its own version of the TPP with those Asian nations without the United States. Last month, the President decided to expand the tariffs on aluminum and steel to include imports from Europe, Mexico, and Canada, a move that was justified based on claims of “national security” that were dismissed for the nonsense they are by Prime Minister Trudeau and by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

As I said above, historically speaking Canadians have been fairly positive about the United States, and the nation of Canada has been among our most loyal allies. Seventy-four years ago, thousands of Canadians died or were injured fighting alongside of Americans during the invasion of Normandy that began the liberation of Europe from Nazi control. Canadians have fought alongside Americans in numerous conflicts since World War Two, including most notably the Afghan War in the wake of the September 11th attacks. During the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979, Canadian diplomats helped hide Americans who had escaped from the American Embassy in Tehran and brought them home to the United States when it was safe to do so. In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Canada played host to hundreds of American tourists who were prevented from landing in the United States, with many ordinary Canadians taking these people into their homes until arrangements to get them home could be made. Beyond this, Canada has been a massive source of tourism for the United States and American companies and their Canadian subsidiaries, especially in the auto industry, have been so intertwined as to effectively function as one. To suggest that such a nation is a national security threat is an absurd slap in the fact, and to treat their Prime Minister the way that this Administration has done is nothing short of a national embarressment for the United States. It’s no wonder that Canadians are upset with the the United States right now. Indeed, they deserve to be.

FILED UNDER: Climate Change, Economics and Business, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Pete S says:

    As a Canadian, I have one general question. There may have been issues in many of the US alliances which were troublesome. Maybe in some cases these issues were so severe that they required the alliance to be blown up. But on what planet did it make sens to try and blow up all of your alliances in a year? What Trump fan could even justify that? He is way too busy out achieving great achievements to negotiate a whole group of new alliances all at the same time. Especially since he doesn’t really like to leave home.

  2. teve tory says:

    When I saw a friend-of-a-friend on FB yesterday repeating the Fox/Breitbart et al party line that it was Justin Trudeau’s fault things went sideways, and Trudeau was dishonest and sneaky and a liar and etc. it wasn’t a hard call, I went straight to BlockTown.

    Life’s too short.

  3. teve tory says:

    how the trumpers see the situation.

    Your favorite cartoonist Ben Garrison, who has a good brain.

  4. Kathy says:

    I don’t suppose Canada can, or would want to, pull out of NORAD while it remains in NATO.

    But looking ahead to the dissolution of the transatlantic alliance under Trump, how much would the US be unable to detect an ICBM attack from Russia or China absent the radar data from stations in Canada?

    I hope it doesn’t come to that. But such could be the consequences from the Cheeto’s misguided attempt to score cheap popularity points off “his” country’s allies.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    All of this is based entirely in lies…from trade deficits to Trudeau allegedly stabbing Dennison in the back.
    All of it. Lies.

  6. Pylon says:

    Has anyone actually said what Trudeau lied about? Especially compared to Trump who keeps talking about a trade deficit with Canada.

  7. teve tory says:

    @Pylon: trump called him dishonest, but it’s not clear from this story what the hell he was talking about. Trump was probably lying, because it was a day ending in ‘y’.

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    @Pete S:..What Trump fan could even justify that?

    All of them, eh…

  9. teve tory says:

    Justification is easy for the Trumpbot5000™

    10 CLS
    20 PRINT “But whatabout ”
    30 A=GetHistoricalEvent(Rand)
    40 PRINT A
    50 GOTO 10

  10. grumpy realist says:

    You’ve got to have a hell of a chip on your shoulder to pick a fight with….Canada?!

    May all the Trumpenproletariat drown in maple syrup.

  11. george says:

    Its funny, but as divisive as Trump is in America, he’s a pretty good unifier externally; lots of Canadians who normally disagree with each other politically agree that his trade war is nuts.

    Having said that, I don’t think he’s doing much damage to Canadian-American relations on the Canadian end – most folks figure he’s a one-term idiot and things will get back to normal when he’s gone. However, if he wins re-election and continues in that line, then yeah, it’ll strongly push Canada towards Europe and China.

  12. george says:


    Well, according to American figures, Canada has a trade deficit with America. According to Canadian figures, Canada has a trade surplus. Different accounting, but the take-away is that its so close to balanced that tiny discrepancies in accounting procedure make it slightly positive or negative.

    The dairy one has everyone here laughing; America gives bigger subsidies to its agriculture industry than Canada does, and yet he picks on that? The national security issue is as funny. Even the small percentage of Canadians who like him say he’s completely out to lunch on both scores. He’s very good for Canadian unity.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    It’s nice to see that idiots are now in charge of American foreign policy…the next president is going to have so much apologizing to do for all the messes that the Orange Toddler has created…

  14. teve tory says:

    Having said that, I don’t think he’s doing much damage to Canadian-American relations on the Canadian end – most folks figure he’s a one-term idiot and things will get back to normal when he’s gone.

    I think most Americans are in the same boat.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Pete S:

    What Trump fan could even justify that?

    Give the Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer a week or two to work and any Trumpskyite you ask will tell you we’ve always been at war with Canada. And not a one of them will remember that last month they liked Canada.

    I’m sorry, but that seems to be the way we are now. Or at least some of us. If Rupert Murdoch shows up asking to enter Canada, shoot him. You seem to be the last large English speaking country he hasn’t screwed up.

  16. Barry says:

    @teve tory: Ga-awd, but that’s bad.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @teve tory: Or maybe it’s like what we do here in Chicago with our politicians–realize that the high level of corruption and figure ways of getting around the whole system.

    If the US is dumb enough to re-elect Trump, I’m going to take all my inventions and gift them to German companies.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @One American:
    OK, I’m happy to leave it. But apparently you true amurricans still want my money and keep hitting me for taxes to pay for Trump’s bloated budget. Seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it?

  19. Pylon says:

    Answering my own question, it’s projection of course. Whenever Trump attacks and criticizes, it’s accusing someone else of doing what he does. So Hilary is crooked and corrupt. Obama was weak and could be manipulated. Trudeau lies.

  20. Guarneri says:

    @grumpy realist:

    All your inventions to Germany, eh.

    German sausage flavored floss, a bidet that runs on Jaegermeister and Boxster shaped gummies.

    They will be thrilled.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Were a foreign leader to speak publicly about an American politician such as the President in the manner that Trump did in his post-summit Air Force One tirade, I have no doubt that we wouldn’t take it kindly to say the least.

    I have a hard time envisioning any insult delivered to trump that would bother me seeing as 99.9% of them would be wholly accurate descriptions of trump.

    And let’s face facts: trump stabbed Canada and all of western Europe in the back first with his wholly arbitrary tarriffs on steel and aluminum. Trudeau just said they weren’t going to take it lying down, before, during, and after the G-7. trump is just a whiny little crybaby and his trade baby sitters (Navarro and Kudlow) are just blaming Trudeau for their own failures at controlling the Toddler in Chief.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @One American: Hope you enjoy that extra candy bar you get every week. It will be justice that by the time your diabetes kicks in you won’t be able to get any healthcare.

  23. Leonard says:

    The country who voted for the guy with no experience or brains just because of name recognition.

  24. KM says:

    @gVOR08 :

    And not a one of them will remember that last month they liked Canada.

    To be fair, most of them really didn’t. ‘Murica’s always had a low-key disdain for Canada and consider them to be the slightly effeminate, lamer, uncool younger sibling the US is always leaving behind to go party or the 51st state that just doesn’t get why it sucks compared to the rest of the states. Granted, most of them have never *met* a Canadian but view them as stereotypical Nice Guys and distant kin you roll your eyes at.

    To sum up the average American’s opinion with a Simpsons quote: “I’m more of a well-wisher…in that I don’t wish you any specific harm.”

  25. teve tory says:

    @Barry: Ben Garrison is a hilariously insane Trumper. His cartoon Trump even has rippling muscles. It’s amazeballs. 😛

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: Actually, something much more world-changing, but I doubt you’re actually interested.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    The country who voted for the guy with no experience or brains just because of name recognition.

    Indeed…that describes the Orange Toddler perfectly…

  28. Leonard says:

    @An Interested Party: Was I talking about Trump?

  29. An Interested Party says:

    Was I talking about Trump?

    You should have been, considering how apt that description is of him…

  30. Leonard says:

    @An Interested Party: Do you think that Trudeau got his position due to his command of the issues or his brand name?