During Monday’s edition of Morning Joe, the panel tried to make sense of why President Trump has decided to pick a fight with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; apparently not believing the stated reason of trying to negotiate better trade agreements.
When co-host Joe Scarborough brought up the President’s characterization of Trudeau as meek and weak, panelist Eugene Robinson suggested: “He does that when he’s feeling insecure, when Trump is feeling insecure. And so it is youth? Is it the fact that he's a pretty good looking guy?” Robinson’s comment came after Scarborough suggested that President Trump might be “threatened by Trudeau being younger.”
Scarborough began the segment by declaring this past weekend “the most depressing in Donald Trump’s year and a half in office,” saying that his “worst expectations were actually met this weekend at the G7 meetings.”
Scarborough described President’s attacks against Trudeau as “strangely, weirdly personal” and argued that they had “no strategic purpose.” Apparently, he didn’t bother to read President Trump’s tweets, which provide a perfect window into his strategy.
Co-host and fiancée Mika Brzezinski read one of the President’s tweets aloud, which should make his “strategic purpose” perfectly clear: “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest and weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his 270% on dairy!”
Yet the Morning Joe panel still couldn’t come up with a reason for the President’s criticisms of Trudeau other than jealousy. The media hasn’t blushed over a politician this much since Chris Matthews made his infamous “thrill up the leg” comment about Former President Barack Obama.
Later, Scarborough then accused President Trump of acting like a snowflake on the international stage, making it sound like the President got bent out of shape by the following comment made by Trudeau:
I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a joint communiqué by all seven countries. We had some strong, firm conversations on trade and specifically American tariffs. I reiterated to President Trump that these tariffs threaten to harm industry and workers on both sides of our border. I stand ready to work closely with the President to resolve this dispute swiftly, but as I have consistently said, I will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.
While panelist and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa agreed that “the Prime Minister had a polite tone”, he added: “It’s worth noting that he is fighting back against U.S. tariffs. He’s announced his own counter tariffs, about 13 billion, on U.S. Goods.” Had the Morning Joe crew bothered to play the rest of the video, where Trudeau announces the retaliatory tariffs, it would have become quite clear why the President was upset.
Click "expand" to see the relevant transcript:
MSNBC's Morning Joe
JOE SCARBOROUGH: This weekend, certainly if you care about America’s place in the world, had to be one of the most concerning, certainly I’ll just say the most depressing in Donald Trump’s year and a half in office. I must say that at least for me, my worst expectations were actually met this weekend at the G7 meetings. What’s the impact on America and the world?
ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS: I share your concern. And, you know, if you’re getting ready in a schoolyard to face a bully, which is Kim Jong-un, you would think you would want to kind of gather your friends around you. I mean, here was a perfect setup. Walk into a summit meeting with the largest economies in the world, all U.S. allies. Why not come out of that with a strong sense of community to go face this awful dictator in Singapore? So it fails the pragmatic test. And, Joe, even worse, kind of the tail end of the whole thing, he goes after NATO. As a former Supreme Allied Commander, I kind of pick up on that. And I’ll tell you, when you so aggressively go after the European allies, you drive them away from us. And to do it right now at this moment is just, it’s bad geopolitics.
SCARBOROUGH: And Michael, here we are one week after celebrating, remembering what happened, what the United States and what our allies did, D-Day, and to see the attacks and again, no strategic purpose for those attacks. In fact, the attacks against Trudeau were strangely, weirdly personal. I don’t quite understand what’s going on there with Donald Trump. I don’t know if he is threatened by Justin Trudeau being younger. I have no idea. But it would be one thing if you could say, hey, you know, Canada has really been screwing us for 30 years. I mean, listen, you could say that about China.
SCARBOROUGH: You could say that…I mean, you talk to business people who say they don’t like the tariffs, but China has been screwing us for 30 years economically. You can’t say that about Canada. You can’t say that about Germany. You can’t say that about our allies. I’d ask you to put it in perspective but…
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: There is none, is there?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: I can’t think of a President who has done something like this. And the problem here is a couple of things. One is we know Donald Trump has a temper and he reacts in emotional ways that may not be in our American national interest. Number two, despite what he says, this is a neophyte, you know, he hasn’t been in diplomacy. You know, Richard Nixon went to China in '72. He had been doing that kind of diplomacy for 20 years, Ronald Reagan for probably 15 years when he went, met with Gorbachev. And the other thing is that with Trump you always have to keep in mind whatever relationship with or orientation he has sort of toward Russia, whether that is a shadow and an overlay and part of his motive in trying to wreck this alliance.
BRZEZINSKI: Still a mystery.
BESCHLOSS: And even what he may do in Singapore tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: You said that, trying to wreck this alliance. And you have Donald Trump trying to get Vladimir Putin and Russia into the G7, trying to make it a G8, which makes no sense at all. They invaded Crimea, which Donald Trump defended the invasion this weekend. You have him now going and meeting Kim Jong-un and basically rolling out the red carpet for Kim Jong-un, defending Vladimir Putin; attacking Canada, France, Germany, Britain. And I just say the question that hangs over all of this in this town is where the hell are the Republicans? Mitch McConnell, and we will get to it, saying that this is the high water mark for conservatism.
BRZEZINSKI: That’s not even…
SCARBOROUGH: That’s a vile statement.
BRZEZINSKI: So it seems he’s only consistent on Russia and also on Kim Jong-un, if you look at the President over the course of his first year in office. Let’s take you through how President Trump handled things at the G7 summit. Early on in the summit, the President signals that the other six members of the group needed the U.S and not the other way around. Trump left late for the summit on Friday, landing an hour behind schedule. When asked why he was late, one White House official told NBC news “he’s the President. There’s a lot on his plate and he was delayed.” He again showed up late to a session the next day, this time 20 minutes late for a breakfast discussion on gender equality. But before he left the summit early for Singapore, he chose to praise his fellow G7 leaders.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say that the level of relationship is a ten. We have a great relationship. Angela and Emmanuel and Justin, I would say the relationship is a ten.
BRZEZINSKI: But before his departure, President Trump took to Twitter to criticize Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his remarks on a joint communique between the G7 members. “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles and flooding the U.S. Market!” Trump continued, “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest and weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his 270% on dairy!” And here is some of what the President’s economic trade advisers said yesterday.
LARRY KUDLOW: He really kind of stabbed us in the back. He really actually, you know what, he did a great disservice to the whole G7. He betrayed…
JAKE TAPPER: Trudeau did?
KUDLOW: Yes, he did because they were united in the G7. So they had this bilateral meeting; we were very close to making a deal with Canada on NAFTA, bilaterally perhaps, and then we leave and Trudeau pulls this sophomoric political stunt for domestic consumption.
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 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.
SCARBOROUGH: This is what he actually said.
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. Okay.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a joint communiqué by all seven countries. We had some strong, firm conversations on trade and specifically American tariffs. I reiterated to President Trump that these tariffs threaten to harm industry and workers on both sides of our border. I stand ready to work closely with the President to resolve this dispute swiftly, but as I have consistently said, I will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.
SCARBOROUGH: That was very mild. Gene Robinson, good God, only Donald J. Trump could make me defend Justin Trudeau. He just drives me crazy. He has from the second he has gotten on the world stage with that phony boxing match. I could go down the litany of things.
EUGENE ROBINSON: I’m working down the date.
SCARBOROUGH: I am now going to… Donald J. Trump is going to now make me defend Justin Trudeau.
BRZEZINSKI: This is weirdly personal.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s not easy for me but it’s so weirdly…
SCARBOROUGH: There’s something weird. There’s something personal. I don’t know what it is, but it’s deeply personal. He was calling him meek and weak and this and that.
ROBINSON: I know. And he so he does that when he’s feeling insecure, when Trump is feeling insecure. And so is it his youth? Is it the fact that he’s a pretty good-looking guy?
SCARBOROUGH: I have no idea.
ROBINSON: Something about him drives Trump crazy. But speaking of crazy, think just how insane this is, I mean, how insane and amateurish this whole thing is. First, Trump, you know, goes berserk about this mild statement that Trudeau made. And then his advisers go out using language that’s usually reserved for, you know, the Stalin.
KASIE HUNT: Dictators. Like maybe the leader of North Korea.
ROBINSON: Exactly, right. You know, special place in hell. And there’s this idea they voice that well, you know, Trudeau made him, tried to make him look bad as he was going off to the Summit.
SCARBOROUGH: No, he didn’t.
ROBINSON: A, he didn’t and, B, that’s like negotiations over the North Korean nuclear program are held at a slightly more sophisticated level. Do you think the North Koreans are going to say, oh, well, you know, just because Trudeau went after Trump, you know, we’re out of here, that’s ridiculous.
SCARBOROUGH: Kasie, That’s the thing. Trudeau didn’t go after Trump. And in response of this where Trudeau doesn’t even go after Trump, he says I’ll defend Canada. That’s what everybody says. Larry Kudlow says he stabbed us in the back? And then Navarro, he betrayed us? There’s a special place in hell for somebody saying they’re going to defend Canada? Trudeau’s remarks were not even tough. Why is Donald Trump acting like a snowflake on the international stage? Why is he the ultimate snowflake melting away when Justin Trudeau gives a blandly Canadian response? I mean, what’s this about? It just does not…it was not that tough. He was being kind.
KASIE HUNT: It was eminently reasonable from the perspective of how these sorts of negotiations are typically conducted. Typically leaders understand each of them are under their own set of domestic, political pressures. They try to both, you know, come together on shared goals for the international community while respecting, you know, the realities for the other leaders. They just absolutely blew through that. And I have to say that interview with Peter Navarro, that is the one thing that I heard from sources about in particular saying that there is a special place in hell for the person who is arguably our closest ally, certainly our closest neighbor. I mean, that’s not how we typically talk about…I mean, oftentimes we don’t use language that strong against, you know, dictators; Saddam Hussein, other people.
SCARBOROUGH: That’s what Max Boot was talking about that yesterday. He said we only use language like that before we’re going to war. “I can’t stop thinking about this interview unless I’m missing something. These are the most hostile comments any US official has made about any US ally ever. This is tougher than the way US presidents talk about leaders like Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad before we bomb them.” Alex, go back. I want to go to Bob Costa next but go back, play this Justin Trudeau clip again. And let’s try to sort through this and see what exactly made Donald Trump melt like a snowflake in the middle of the blistering, like a snowflake in the Las Vegas sun in August. I don’t get this.
TRUDEAU: I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a joint communiqué by all seven countries. We had some strong, firm conversations on trade and specifically American tariffs. I reiterated to President Trump that these tariffs threaten to harm industry and workers on both sides of our border. I stand ready to work closely with the President to resolve this dispute swiftly, but as I have consistently said, I will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.
SCARBOROUGH: I don’t even…Bob Costa, I don’t even know what to say. That was one of the politest statements. Again, the question is, do you have any insight into why Donald Trump is so weak when it comes to Justin Trudeau? Why he would melt like that on the international stage and cause, well, cause a serious rupture in one of our most important relationships across the globe?
ROBERT COSTA: Well, the Prime Minister had a polite tone. It’s worth noting that he is fighting back against U.S. Tariffs. He’s announced his own counter tariffs, about 13 billion, on U.S. Goods. So you see the Canadians, not just taking the President’s line on trade and accepting where President Trump is moving on trade. And with regard to Mr. Navarro and Mr. Kudlow, they’re hard line comments. You really can almost feel the shadow of President Trump hovering over them while they’re on television. Anyone who has worked for this President says he is entirely transactional and his ideology is fluid except on trade; that trade since the 1970s has animated him and that you cannot convince him privately to budge. And so this trade ideology that is really is not shared by anyone right or left inside the halls of the U.S. Capitol, it’s really President Trump’s own ideology, this is now driving all U.S. policy, especially with regard to our western allies.