Donald Trump admitted to misleading Justin Trudeau, and now people have feelings
During a fundraising speech in Missouri, Donald Trump, famous for his tortured relationship with facts, did something he doesn’t often do: he admitted that, on one occasion, he said something that he wasn’t sure was true.
In the president’s telling, he was talking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (This story probably takes place during Trudeau’s visit to Washington early last year.) Trudeau reminded Trump that the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada. “I had no idea,” Trump reportedly told his donors. “I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’” According to Trump, a White House staffer went to run the numbers and discovered that Trump was correct. Except, Trump wasn’t correct. At least, not according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which estimates that the U.S. had a $12.5-billion trade surplus with the U.S. in 2016, when both goods and services are taken into account. And so, in trying to make himself sound like a master trade negotiator, the U.S. president has somehow achieved the opposite. Here’s what people are saying.
Donald Trump, for his part, says that you should probably just trust Donald Trump on this one:
We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do…they almost all do…and that’s how I know!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2018
Daniel Dale, who fact-checks Donald Trump more or less full time for the Toronto Star, points out that Trump’s trade numbers aren’t the only things about this story that seem false:
In summary: Trump *was* making up facts in his meeting with Trudeau, but I’m extremely doubtful that the rest of this story is non-fictional. It’s quite possibly even more bizarre: he’s adding a new lie about how he was proven right about his old lie.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 15, 2018
It is very convenient that Trump’s high standards for truth in mass media disappear every time he encounters a fact he doesn’t like:
DC area man who constantly tweets unhinged rants about “FAKE NEWS” boasts about how he just made up a bunch of stuff while trying to start a trade war with Canada. https://t.co/3frE5i7SWb
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 15, 2018
Jeet Heer, a New Republic writer known for his long Twitter essays, restrained himself to a single tweet:
I'm pretty sure that Justin Trudeau & every other world leader knows Trump is a bullshit artist. It's baked into the cake by now.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 15, 2018
The news doesn’t always have to be surprising, bud:
I don't see the "news" in Donald Trump's admission that he just made up trade facts to cover his ignorance and lied to Canada's Justin Trudeau.
Lying and ignorance are as much Trump trademarks as Trump Tower.
— Jay Bookman AJC (@jaybookmanajc) March 15, 2018
And what were Trump fans saying?
This guy thinks the Washington Post is part of the Great Media Conspiracy against the president:
OK. President Trump made a guess about trade deficit with Canada while talking to Justin Trudeau. It wasn’t a lie.
Washington Post made up a fact to make it look like a lie.
It’s Media which is making up facts out of thin news everyday to discredit Trump.
— Common Sense (@CommonSenseWise) March 15, 2018
Are you bluffing if you don’t actually know what cards you’re holding?
WaPo headline: “In fundraising speech, Trump says he made up trade claim in meeting with Justin Trudeau.”
What he did is called bluffing. It’s a skillful practice used by people during negotiations.
Trump is playing high stakes poker and WaPo wants him to show his cards.
— First Words (@unscriptedmike) March 15, 2018
There is a grain of truth to this:
Liberals and the MSM have proven themselves to be completely humorless people. They don't understand President Trump now, and they never ever will. He plays'em like a fiddle.?? Justin Trudeau #ThursdayThoughts
— Righteous⚡Crusader (@Craftmastah) March 15, 2018
And a parting thought. Canada can’t save you, lady. You have to save yourself:
Dear Canada, HELP! We’ve been taken hostage by a 71-year old troll with bad hair implants. Please save us. https://t.co/vyTmZyRDXj
— Karoli (@Karoli) March 15, 2018
This post has been updated to remove a tweet from a fake Chance the Rapper account. Our apologies to Chance, and rappers everywhere.