By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Donald Trump has developed the knack of making friends out of enemies, and enemies out of friends.
The US president is currently in Singapore for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, a long-time enemy of the United States. They are hoping to bury the hatchet, and start the denuclearisation process in the peninsula.
This attempt at diplomacy came days after the G7 summit in Quebec, where Trump provoked his allies with trade tariffs and tough talk. He attacked his neighbours Canada, calling Justin Trudeau "very dishonest" and "weak".
It was a tense meeting among the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. British prime minister Theresa May admitted it was a "difficult" occasion with "strong disagreements". She said she was disappointed by the US trade policies. On June 1, the US imposed a 25 per cent tariff for steel and 10 per cent for aluminium on imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico. The EU has announced retaliatory tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon - and Canada and Mexico are also taking action.
The Canadian prime minister hosted the nations for the tense talks. While Trump was disrespectful to his host, other world leaders have stepped in to defend Trudeau. Appearing before the Commons, May said: "I want to pay a particular tribute to Prime Minister Trudeau for his leadership and skilful chairing, which enabled us after two days of negotiation between leaders to agree actions and a shared approach on some of the most pressing challenges facing the international community and our citizens."
The EU has also sided with Trudeau, the Independent reports. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, has defended the Canadian prime minister, with his spokesperson telling reporters in Brussels that Trudeau had done an "excellent job" at the summit.
Juncker's spokesperson said: “The European Union stands fully behind the G7 communiqué agreed in Charlevoix and President Juncker wishes to thank publicly Prime Minister Trudeau and his team for the excellent preparation and chairing of this challenging summit."
Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump, escalated the attacks on Trudeau, arguing there is a "special place in hell" for the Canadian. He told Fox News: "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. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One."
Countering this extraordinary attack, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, insisted there is "a special place in heaven for Justin Trudeau". He thanked Canada for “the perfect organisation” of the G7 meeting.
The Canadian House of Commons adopted an "unusual, unanimous resolution backing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau", the Washington Post reports. They also note that Americans have lent their support to their northern neighbour on Twitter through special hashtags #ThankCanada and #ThanksCanada. Some of the tweets cited Canada's welcome of transatlantic flights diverted to Newfoundland after the 9/11 attacks, as well as their help spiring US diplomats out of Tehran following the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Others thanked Canada for maple syrup, Leonard Cohen and the early adoption of same-sex marriage.
The attacks on Trudeau could serve as a PR victory for the Canadian prime minister. The Toronto Star argues that Trump has made a hero out of Trudeau, and the US president should be sent a gift basket woven out of Canadian steel and aluminium. "I don't know what Trump and his bootlicking advisers hoped to achieve by launching vicious attacks on our leader over the last 72 hours. But by calling Trudeau "weak and dishonest," by suggesting he is a duplicitous backstabber for whom "a special place in hell" is reserved, Team Trump's flyby smears have now united the world behind Justin Trudeau," the Star's Vinay Menon argues.
Donald Trump intended to smear Justin Trudeau by calling him "very dishonest" and "weak", but the Canadian prime minister has never looked stronger as the international community backs him. Trump is isolating the United States from this community with his trade tariffs and attacks, and the US president will soon realise how lonely it is when you put your allies last.