Donald Trump Boasts About Being an Idiot in Talks With Canada

Even for Donald Trump, this is a weird story. Here’s the setup:

President Trump boasted in a fundraising speech Wednesday that he made up information in a meeting with the leader of a top U.S. ally, saying he insisted to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the United States runs a trade deficit with its neighbor to the north without knowing whether that was the case.

Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’ ” Trump said, mimicking Trudeau, according to audio obtained by The Washington Post….“I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know….He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check because I can’t believe it.’ ”

So far, this is typical Trump: bragging about how ignorant he is but supposedly getting the better of his oh-so-urbane counterpart anyway. But then “his guy” comes back with the numbers:

‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit but that doesn’t include energy and timber … And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ It’s incredible.”

Energy? Timber? WTF is that supposed to be about? Here’s our actual trade deficit with Canada:

For the past three years, we’ve had a trade deficit in goods with Canada of about $20 billion, mostly because we import lots of oil and natural gas from them (about $70 billion in 2017). But that’s only tangible goods. We export a lot of services to Canada (financial services, computer services, etc.), and as a result we’ve been running a total trade surplus of about $5 billion. This is what Trudeau was talking about. It has nothing to do with timber, and the number $17 billion doesn’t show up anywhere.

This information takes about five minutes to look up. What kind of “guys” does Trump have who come back to him with a cockamamie story like this? Or did they come back with the real numbers and now Trump is just inventing a tall tale about his triumph over Justin Trudeau? Or what? Can anyone out there make any more sense of this story than I can?

POSTSCRIPT: Also, if this story is anywhere close to true, can you just imagine what Trudeau told his people when he got back? I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that debrief.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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