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Trump steps up attacks on Canada, key ally and largest U.S. export market

After leaving the G-7 summit in Quebec early, President Trump withdrew from the group's joint statement on trade and blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "dishonest" for criticizing the U.S. tariffs and moving to retaliate. As Lisa Desjardins reports, a key relationship for both sides is at risk.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There's new fallout today from the G7 gathering in Quebec that ended in rancor between President Trump and some close U.S. allies.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

  • Theresa May:

    We need to avoid a continued tit-for-tat escalation.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    An unusually blunt assessment today from British Prime Minister Theresa May after this weekend's tense G7 summit.

  • Theresa May:

    This was a difficult summit with, at times, some very candid discussions.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Theresa May:

    But the conclusion I draw is that it's only through continued dialogue that we can find ways to work together to resolve the challenges we face.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Topping those challenges at the moment is the split between President Trump and his G7 counterparts over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Some of his harshest words were aimed at Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister who criticized the U.S. tariffs on Saturday, after Mr. Trump left the summit early to head to Singapore.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It's kind of insulting. It would be with regret, but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness, that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In short order, President Trump tweeted he was withdrawing from the G7's joint statement on trade, and he blasted Trudeau as dishonest.

    On Sunday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro stepped up the attack.

  • Peter Navarro:

    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.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    At risk is a key relationship on both sides. Canada is the United States' largest export market overall. It's also the largest market for American agricultural goods.

    Since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994, exports to Canada have soared 181 percent. Imports from Canada have increased slightly less, 170 percent.

    Last night, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine came to Canada's defense, tweeting, "We have had differences with Canada over the years. Nevertheless, Canada remains our close ally, good friend, and one of America's biggest trading partners."

    Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said that the G7 agreement is more than symbolic.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

    I understand the president was upset. The president could have said that. But to walk away from our allies in this way, I think, is a mistake.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Even so, from Singapore today, Mr. Trump fired off a new barrage of tweets. One lobbed at Canada proclaimed, "Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal." In another, he charged, "Why should I allow countries to continue to make massive trade surpluses while our farmers, workers and taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay?"

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aimed to play down the strains.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    There are always irritants in relationships.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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