Trump Says Keeping Canada In NAFTA Not A 'Necessity'

U.S. President Donald Trump's blunt assessment of the NAFTA talk's landed with a thud on the negotiating table Friday, but he was back at it again Saturday with some firm threats via Twitter.

Trump made comments to Blooomberg News that he claims were off-the-record, but those comments were leaked to the Toronto Star newspaper.

In reference to the Canadian government, Trump told Bloomberg, ``if I say no, the answer's no. If I say no, then you're going to put that, and it's going to be so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal ... I can't kill these people."

The U.S. president took to Twitter again Saturday to say, "there is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out."

Something the Ottawa reporter for the Canadian Press Terry Pedwell — who spoke to AM800's Patty Handysides on The Afternoon News — says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is prepared to accept should a fair deal not be reached.

"Canada made very clear to the U.S. negotiators that there are certain red lines that Canada will not cross to get a deal," he says. "He [Trudeau] repeated again that, 'no deal is better than a bad deal for Canada.'"

Pedwell says Trump clearly doesn't want to compromise.

"'This powerful understanding was blatantly violated, then he goes on to say 'oh well just more dishonest reporting, I'm used to it, at least Canada knows where I stand,'" he says. "He's not denying he said all these things about Canada and basically saying that any deal has to be on U.S. terms and U.S. terms only."

He tells AM800 News Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is wearing her best poker face and didn't pull any punches after learning of the comments.

"Her people are indicating that she went in and said, 'what about these comments by the president, because if he's making these kind of comments then how serious is your side about making a deal,'" says Pedwell. "Certainly right now the way it stands there are a couple of contentious issues between the two of them and it doesn't look like they're going to be resolved any time soon."

Pedwell says opening Canada's dairy market and issues around dispute resolution are some key elements that have been contentious.

Talks will resuming Wednesday.

— with files from AM800's Patty Handysides.