Trump leaked phone call: ‘Don’t worry about Canada,’ says he’s happy with trade

A leaked transcript of a Donald Trump phone call shows the president’s private comments about trade with Canada, and suggests he had an overwhelmingly positive attitude about the northern neighbour as he took office.

The purported remarks made in a private phone call from late January are every bit as flattering as the president’s public comments just days later when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House.

They came in a call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and were part of a leaked transcript published Thursday by the Washington Post. The context for the exchange was Trump’s bitter and escalating feud with Mexico at the time.

U.S.-Mexico relations had just reached their nadir over the proposed border wall, and who would pay for it. Pena Nieto cancelled a trip to Washington.

In the call, Trump told the Mexican president that he got huge crowds during the campaign, and had promised throngs of 25,000 to 50,000 people that Mexico would pay for the wall, so he pleaded with the Mexican president not to publicly contradict him on the issue.

Pena Nieto encouraged a more positive discussion: He supposedly urged Trump to focus on the fact that the three NAFTA countries could negotiate a new trade framework. That prompted a rejoinder from the president.

“Canada is no problem,” Trump replied, according to the leaked transcript.

“Do not worry about Canada, do not even think about them. That is a separate thing and they are fine and we have had a very fair relationship with Canada. It has been much more balanced and much more fair. So we do not have to worry about Canada, we do not even think about them.”

Those remarks echo public comments he made a few days later at a news conference with Trudeau. His rhetoric has ebbed and flowed since then. Trump has complained about Canadian dairy and lumber policies, and often threatens to scrap NAFTA barring a new deal.

The reality entering trade talks is a bit more mundane.

The U.S. has posted its priorities for the NAFTA negotiations starting Aug. 16, and they lie somewhere between the two extremes of the everything-is-fine attitude in that January phone call and the more aggressive talk favoured by some Trump advisers and occasionally the president himself.

The U.S. positions include a laundry list of traditional American demands when it comes to Canadian trade. Most of the U.S. NAFTA demands could be found on annual lists published by the U.S. government, year after year.

Those demands include more access for U.S. dairy and wine on Canadian store shelves; freer trade in telecommunications and banking; stricter patent rules for drugs; and tax cuts for online shopping of imported U.S. goods.

Other priorities dear to the Trump administration include changes to auto-parts rules and the dispute-settlement process.

Just Posted

Castor murderer vows to fight conviction

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

Advocate poll shows another hospital wanted in Red Deer

Over 50 per cent of voters support second hospital

Olds RCMP has new detachment commander

Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald now on the job

Off-highway vehicles recovered on Sunchild

Rocky Mountain House RCMP notifying owners

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month