White House aides reportedly urged Trudeau to persuade Trump on NAFTA
The personal appeal that President Trump said he received from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month — leading him to renegotiate NAFTA — was only made after Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner called Trudeau’s office in Ottawa and begged him to talk some sense into the commander-in-chief, a report says.
The unconventional move was revealed Monday by the National Post, who spoke to several government sources familiar with the desperate pleas from Washington.
Toronto’s Metro newspaper later revealed that Kushner was the government official who made the phone call.
White House advisers had been worried that Trump would scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement — after he famously dubbed it the “worst trade deal ever” — and decided to phone the Prime Minister’s Office to get Trudeau to change his mind, the sources said.
“You never know how much of it is theatre, but it didn’t feel that way,” a senior Canadian diplomatic source told the Post of the call between Trump’s people and Trudeau’s.
“Maybe they’re just learning how to be a government,” the source said. “At least they were open to the conversation, and that stopped them doing something rash and destructive.”
According to reports, Trudeau called Trump on the night of April 26 and spoke to him about renegotiating NAFTA. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto made a similar appeal, as well.
The president later claimed that he was adamant about pulling out of NAFTA, but the phone calls with Trudeau and Peña Nieto helped convince him otherwise.