In what may have been the frostiest moment for U.S.-Canada relations in months, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he’d rejected a request to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the United Nations. Earlier, Trudeau also reportedly got a chilly reception from Trump when he approached the leader for a handshake.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Trump said he’d passed on the chance to meet with Trudeau, because “his tariffs are too high and he doesn’t seem to want to move.” The two leaders have been locked in a rancorous effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump also suggested he wasn’t happy with Chrystia Freeland, who is leading Canada’s trade negotiations. “We’re not getting along at all with their negotiators.”
The statement, which may be Trump’s most direct hit against Trudeau since the G7 summit this summer, represented a possible new low in the deterioration of the U.S.-Canada relationship.
Relations between the two leaders weren’t always so cold. In fact, early on in Trump’s presidency, some observers spoke of a bromance blossoming between them. Trudeau was quick to congratulate Trump when he assumed office, and warmly noted that Canada has “no closer friend, ally, and partner than the United States.”