President Donald Trump has accused Bloomberg of leaking comments he made during an interview with the publication last week. He says the comments were off-the-record. The president wrote about the incident on Twitter.
“Still can’t believe that Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement. Will they put out an apology?” the president wrote.
The comments concerned Canada and the potential for a deal on the renegotiation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Specifically, Mr. Trump said he was unlikely to compromise on a deal with Canada but couldn’t say so publicly for fear it would jeopardize any agreement.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are currently renegotiating NAFTA. President Trump signed a new, bilateral trade agreement with Mexico last week. Canada was excluded from those negotiations. It’s believed the deal between the U.S. and Mexico would put pressure on Canada to reach a new agreement.
So far Canadian officials have said only that negotiations are continuing. “We’re making progress. We’re not there yet,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said after the comments became public.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a practical approach to the mini controversy. “Over the past year and a half, there’s a lot of things that have been said from time to time,” he told reporters last week.
“I think people have noticed that our government’s approach is always to stay constructive, positive, to engage on the substance of issues, and to demonstrate that we understand that the path forward is one of making sure there’s a win-win-win on all sides.”
Mr. Trump’s comments were published by Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star. It is not exactly clear how they reached him though. Craig Gordon, the Washington bureau chief at Bloomberg, said in a statement that Bloomberg did not publish any off-the-record statements or authorize the release of them.
“When we agree that something is off the record, we respect that agreement,” he said.
President Trump has used the episode to continue attacks on what he calls, a dishonest media. “These are very dishonorable people,” President Trump said of the media during a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina after his comments became public. “But I said, in the end it’s okay, because at least Canada knows how I feel,” he continued. “So it’s fine. It’s fine, it’s true.”
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