“I can’t kill these people,” Trump says of Canadian government as NAFTA deadline looms
With a Friday deadline looming, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is wearing her best poker face as U.S. President Donald Trump's blunt assessment of the NAFTA talks lands with a thud on the negotiating table.
Trump's comments were made in an off-the-record discussion with Bloomberg News but leaked to the Toronto Star newspaper.
Trump told Bloomberg quote — "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,'' Trump said in reference to the Canadian government.
He then went on to say that any deal with Canada would be totally on our terms.
Freeland emerged from the morning's talks just minutes after news of Trump's remarks started to leak out.
Despite repeated questions about whether the comments risked scuttling the talks, a stoic Freeland maintained her diplomatic posture, saying only that both the Canadian negotiating team and U-S trade officials are working hard to reach an agreement.
All she would say is — "we're not there yet.''
Asked directly about Trump's remarks and whether the Americans are bargaining in good faith, Freeland walked a diplomatic tightrope.
She told reporters that the Canadian and American starting positions at the beginning were very far apart.
Freeland says each side knows what the other needs and they're working hard to find a way to reach consensus.
She says her job is to find the deal that works for Canada.
Speaking to reporters in Oshawa, Ontario, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the reports on Trump's off-the-record comments.
Trudeau would only say that over the past year and a half there's a lot of things that have been said from time to time.
He wouldn't comment on the obstacles that remain and reiterated he won't negotiate in public.