What does it say when the man can’t even get his staff in order?
The call (to Justin Trudeau, asking him to talk Donald Trump out of destroying NAFTA) was coming from inside the (White) house. Confused? Let me clear it up for you. As Donald Trump has been parading around the West Wing in his bathrobe and terrorizing aides and the international community with mood swings, erratic tweets, and a seemingly endless list of things he didn’t realize were so complicated until he became president, there has been a contingent of his staff who have been attempting to manipulate the president in some pretty unusual ways. For instance, if you turned on cable news at all during the campaign, then you probably caught one of the millions of Trump rallies that they aired unedited and therefore probably heard Trump rail against NAFTA. That may make for good election-year politics, but the truth is NAFTA has become an important part of not just our economy, but also Mexico’s and Canada’s, and if we were to suddenly withdraw from the agreement, the economic fallout could be massive and painful and cause the price of everything to potentially skyrocket.
So what do you do if an issue requires nuance and careful consideration, but you work for Donald Trump? Well, apparently you do a little freelancing and reach out to the Canadian government to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implore Trump to reconsider. This story comes from The National Post.
The President was said to be persuaded by the argument to kill what he
has repeatedly called the “worst trade deal ever,” despite concerns
about the economic disruption that might result.
According to Canadian government sources, White House advisers pushing
a more cautious approach then called Ottawa to ask for Trudeau’s
“You never know how much of it is theatre, but it didn’t feel that
way,” said one senior Canadian diplomatic source, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly
about the matter. “Maybe they’re just learning how to be a government.
At least they were open to the conversation, and that stopped them
doing something rash and destructive.”
Just what you want to hear from a foreign government official: “Maybe they’re just learning how to be a government.” I mean, damn. That is vicious. And though, in the case of Canada, Trump didn’t seem mad about anything that went down, instead going out of his way to praise Trudeau and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, that doesn’t mean he likes being undermined. Which, according to Bloomberg, is exactly what National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster learned recently after he let South Korea know that President Trump wouldn’t make them pay for defense.
Other White House officials however tell me this is not the sentiment
the president has expressed recently in private. Trump was livid,
according to three White House officials, after reading in the Wall
Street Journal that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart
to assure him that the president’s threat to make that country pay for
a new missile defense system was not official policy. These officials
say Trump screamed at McMaster on a phone call, accusing him of
undercutting efforts to get South Korea to pay its fair share.
One thing becomes clear when you hear these stories. As terrifying as Donald Trump is (and his level falls somewhere between the little girl from The Ring and “WebMD worst-case scenario”), it’s somewhat comforting to know that there are some people working for the president who are doing their best to stop him from destroying the country. I mean, not as comforting as literally anyone else being in charge, but still somewhat comforting.
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