Unable to get through to their boss on their own, White House advisers called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office last month and asked if he would call President Trump to persuade him to not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unilaterally, several people in the Canadian government told Canada’s National Post.
It worked — on April 26, after it was reported by several media outlets that the administration was drafting an executive order to exit NAFTA, Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto phoned Trump in the afternoon, and that night, the White House issued a statement saying Trump was not going to terminate the agreement. “You never know how much of it is theater, but it didn’t feel that way,” a senior Canadian diplomat told The National Post, before politely adding: “Maybe they’re just learning how to be a government. At lest they were open to the conversation, and that stopped them doing something rash and destructive.”
Trudeau argued that if the U.S. left, it would likely cause a major economic disruption, costing U.S. jobs. Trump said it was an “honor” to work with Trudeau and Peña Nieto on the matter, and he likes “both these gentlemen very much. I respect their countries very much. The relationship is very special. And I said, I will hold on the termination — let’s see if we can make it a fair deal.” The White House did not respond to The National Post’s request for a comment. Catherine Garcia