Trump may be terrible at building walls but he sure is great at burning bridges — according to CNN, the U.S. President had a 'testy' phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week regarding the new tariffs targeting Canadian steel and aluminum imports.
The Trump administration used an old trade law from 1962 to justify the tariffs as a national security issue. When Trudeau asked how Canada, a longstanding ally, could be a threat to the U.S., Trump snarkily replied with a reference to the War of 1812, saying: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?"
The problem with that remark is that British troops were actually responsible for burning down the White House during the War of 1812. Canada at the time was still a colony of the United Kingdom and gained independence after the war in 1867. It should also be noted that the act Trump refers to was simply a British response to an American attack on York, Ontario in 1813.
While Trump's comment was supposedly intended to be a joke, it seems Trudeau didn't appreciate it at all, making a bold statement during a press conference earlier last week.
"The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable."
Trudeau further demonstrated his distaste in an interview with NBC:
"The idea that, you know, our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that we are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to that."
With a trade war looming as a result of Trump's recent protectionist moves, now is probably not the right time to be making those kind of jokes. Despite the tensions, Trump is sticking to his guns, saying that the United States "must, at long last, be treated fairly on trade."
The White House declined to comment when asked by CNN about the President's remark in reference to the War of 1812.