Trump didn't want to show weakness, but wound up screaming it.
Trump chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow sounded bitter about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments at the G7, but says that the real reason Trump walked away from the G7 communique was to impress North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
In an interview on Sunday morning's "State of the Union," Kudlow seemed quite emotional while complaining about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments at a G7 press conference. He described Trudeau's remarks as "firing bullets," and called them a "betrayal" and a "double-cross."
But then, Kudlow revealed a new and possibly even scarier reason for ditching our allies than petulant outrage.
"[Trump] is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around... on the eve of this, he is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea, nor should he," Kudlow told host Jake Tapper.
"So this was about North Korea?" Tapper asked.
"Of course it was, in large part, absolutely," Kudlow said.
"We had done our work in Quebec, north of Quebec, we worked with Western Alliance, pleased to do so," Kudlow added. "We get on a plane, and then this guy Trudeau starts blasting us. Kim must not see American weakness!"
Kudlow went on to claim that Trump was simply "hitting back" at Trudeau for "pouring collateral damage on this whole Korean trip," and said that "Trudeau made an error,
he should take it back. He should pull back on his statement and wish president Trump well in the Korean negotiations."
The most obvious problem with Kudlow's argument is that shooting yourself and your allies in the feet in order to avoid looking weak is, itself, a tremendous show of weakness, especially if you say out loud that that's what you were doing.
But Trump's actions look even weaker when you consider what Trudeau actually said. He was asked to respond to Trump's threat that he would cease trade with any country that retaliated in the trade war that Trump started.
Trudeau said that he takes retaliatory tariffs very seriously, reiterated that Trump's "national security" rationale for the trade war was "kind of insulting" to Canadians who have fought and died alongside Americans, and said that he would regretfully follow through with retaliation if Trump imposed the tariffs he has authorized.
"I have made it clear to the president that it is not something we relished doing, it is something we will do," Trudeau said. "Canadians are polite, reasonable, but we will not be pushed around."
Trump responded to Trudeau by ditching all of our G7 allies via Twitter, writing that "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!"
Kudlow is right about one thing, everyone should wish Trump well in the North Korea negotiations, but with strategy like this, it's going to take a miracle for those wishes to come true.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.