'Special place in hell': Trump's top advisers accuse Trudeau of betrayal
Donald Trump's top aides levelled blistering criticism at Justin Trudeau on Sunday for what they see as his betrayal of the president before his summit with North Korea, with one adviser saying Trudeau deserves a "special place in hell.''
Trudeau, so far, has declined to engage in the latest round of antagonism, instead sending out messages of his own about democracy, women's empowerment and the environment.
The war of words burst out into the open on Saturday, hours after the U.S. president left the G7 summit in Quebec. From his plane, he launched insults at the prime minister, calling him "very dishonest and weak.''
The accusations came just after the G7 issued a fragile joint communique in which the embattled alliance managed to overcome some differences and find areas of common ground.
Within minutes of the official release of the document, Trump attacked Trudeau on Twitter over what he described as the prime minister's "false statements'' during the closing G7 news conference and the president announced the U.S. would no longer endorse the communique.
Trump's closest advisers added to the attack during televised interviews on Sunday.
It started on CNN's "State of the Union'' when Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the White House was angered by Trudeau's comments during the news conference that Canada would stand up for itself and that recently imposed U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum are "insulting.''
Kudlow pointed out that Trump "is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around'' ahead of his high-stakes summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea,'' he said.
Kudlow accused Trudeau of "pouring collateral damage on this whole Korean trip. That was a part of Trudeau's mistake. Trudeau made an error. He should take it back.''
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro piled on with scathing comments during an interview with Fox News Sunday.
"There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door,'' said Navarro.
"And that's what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One.''
Trudeau has used the word "insulting'' several times in the last couple of weeks to describe Trump's tariffs, as the prime minister has taken issue with the fact they're being applied on the premise that Canada poses a national security threat to the U.S.
The prime minister, so far, has stayed out of the fray.
By midday Sunday, he had yet to address the Trump administration's taunts. Instead, he sent a tweet that suggests he stands by the G7 communique despite the president's second thoughts.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, however, responded Sunday to the insults by Trump's advisers.
"In terms of the approach that governments choose to take, Canada does not believe that ad-hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries,'' Freeland told reporters in Quebec City.
In his interview Sunday, Kudlow said he personally negotiated with Trudeau during the two-day G7 summit in Quebec's Charlevoix region and insisted the U.S. agreed to the language in the communique in good faith.
He described Trudeau's actions after the G7 summit as a "sophomoric play.''
"He really kind of stabbed us in the back,'' Kudlow said.
"He did a great disservice to the whole G7.''
He insisted, like Trump himself has done many times, that Canada has enormous tariffs itself, especially on certain dairy and food products.
Asked about Trump's messages and the future of the G7 late Saturday during a photo op in La Malbaie, Trudeau declined to respond to several questions.
He did not comment on the conflict during a series of photo-ops with world leaders in Quebec City on Sunday morning.
The Prime Minister's Office did release a statement late Saturday, following Trump's tweets, that said: "We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before, both in public, and in private conversations with the president.''
On Sunday, a Trudeau tweet contained a message that suggests he believes the communique remains very much alive.
"The historic and important agreement we all reached at G7Charlevoix will help make our economies stronger & people more prosperous, protect our democracies, safeguard our environment and protect women & girls' rights around the world. That's what matters,'' wrote Trudeau, without mentioning any of the insults from Washington.
The demise of the fragile communique is seen as a major blow to the strength of the G7 alliance, which is made up of wealthy developed democracies including Germany, Japan, France, the United Kingdom and Italy.
European members were expressing solidarity with Trudeau the day after Trump's Twitter blast.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the other G7 members stand by the communique and all that was agreed upon.
A French presidential official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that after two days of trying to gain commitments and consensus, all of Europe was sticking to the agreed document.
The official said international relations "can not depend on anger or small words'' and must be conducted in a way that is "serious and worthy of our people.''
Support for Canada and its allies also surfaced in the U.S. as well.
Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain took to Twitter to offer his support.
"To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn't,'' he wrote.
Trump infuriated his G7 allies recently by slapping them with the hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum, a move that prompted Canada and the European Union to threaten duties of their own.
The G7 communique is considered a somewhat formal document representing months of work involving hundreds of officials from all seven countries. Some believe it's not something that can lose its value just because of a couple of tweets.