Trump invokes War of 1812 in testy call with Trudeau over tariffs

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference, sources familiar with the discussion told .

According to the sources, Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a “national security” issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812.
The problem with Trump’s comments to Trudeau is that British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812. Historians note the British attack on Washington was in retaliation for the American attack on York, Ontario, in territory that eventually became Canada, which was then a British colony.
When asked if the comment was received as a joke, one source on the call said: “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the US won’t be a laughing matter.”
The White House declined to comment and the National Security Council did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.
Asked about the state of US-Canada relations, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow acknowledged some short-term tensions, but said he believes relations between the two countries remain “very good.”
“I have no doubt that the United States and Canada will remain firm friends and allies whatever short-term disagreements may occur,” Kudlow said.
During the Burning of Washington, on August 24, 1814, first lady Dolley Madison famously rescued a portrait of George Washington before fleeing the White House.
Trudeau has publicly denounced the “national security” justification for the new tariffs.

 

 

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