Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, must have drawn the short straw because he was the designated defender of Trump’s withdrawal from the G7 communique on Sunday morning political chat shows. I watched him being interviewed on Jake Tapper’s CNN show State of the Union and on CBS’s Face the Nation. He came off both articulate and consistent in his criticism of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s performance during a post-G7 press conference Saturday.
Kudlow is right to speak out about Trudeau’s display of poor judgment. Trudeau is not exactly known for his own stellar decision-making skills. You may recall his trip to India last February when he was soundly ridiculed for traipsing about with his family decked out in traditional Indian garments. He looked ridiculous. Then a man convicted of an attempted assassination (and sent to prison) of an Indian state cabinet minister while in Vancouver in 1986, Jaspal Atwal, showed up posing for a photo with Trudeau’s wife in Mumbai. The British Columbia resident is said to be a former member of an extremist Sikh group banned as a terrorist organization. Then it became known that Atwal was on the guest list for a reception during the visit. Needless to say, after the press noticed and asked questions, the man’s invitation was rescinded. Awkward. What is it with liberals and convicted terrorists, anyway?
So Kudlow hit the airwaves to talk about Trump’s decision to not endorse the communique coming out of the G7 Summit though originally he agreed to sign off on it, joining with the 6 other leaders present. Trudeau decided to slam Trump behind his back to the press after Trump’s early departure Saturday. A casual observer would have known that such a stunt would end badly. Trump turned his back on the communique and on we go. Kudlow is left to pick up the pieces and explain the administration’s position. In short, it boils down to this: don’t try to publicly humiliate President Trump because it will not end well for you. Didn’t Trudeau see any of Trump’s campaign in 2016? The guy bragged about punching back harder than his opponents punch him. Trump loves the fight.
“He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to Trudeau. He described Trudeau’s news conference as “sophomoric” and a “political stunt.”
“It’s a betrayal. It’s essentially double-crossing. Not just double-crossing President Trump, but other members of the G-7,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow is a media-savvy guy, like Trump. Kudlow, besides being a successful businessman, hosted his own financial show on CNBC. Like Trump, Kudlow contributed to Democrats in the past. He became involved in conservative politics and joined the Reagan administration. He promotes free trade, banning tariffs, and eliminating subsidies. And the last thing Trump is going to allow is any sign of weakness as he goes into the summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Kudlow said.
“POTUS is not gonna let a Canadian prime minister push him around,” Kudlow said. “He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip.”
Tapper picked up on the implication and said this was about North Korea.
“Of course it was, in large part,” Kudlow said. “Kim must not see American weakness.”
It’s all about showing toughness. Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, doubled down on Kudlow’s statements with one of his own. “All Trudeau had to do was take the win.”
“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. And that’s what bad-faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference,” said Navarro told “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump was doing Trudeau a favor by coming to Quebec for the G7 when he “had bigger things on his plate” with the North Korean summit.
“All Justin Trudeau had to do was take the win,” Navarro said. “He did him a favor and he was even willing to sign that socialist communique and what did Trudeau do as soon as the plane took off from Canadian airspace? Trudeau stuck our president in the back and that will not stand.”
Kudlow wants an apology from Trudeau to Trump on behalf of the other G7 allies. I’m not holding my breath on that one.
“He ought to come out and apologize in the name of the western allies,” Kudlow said of Trudeau. “He ought to come out today and wish President Trump well in the negotiations instead of taking pot shots at him.”
And, so it goes. On to Singapore.