An off-the-record comment by President Donald Trump is roiling trade talks with Canada.
The Toronto Star reports that Trump has said privately that he won’t make compromises with Canada in high-stakes talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The report appeared to raise doubt about whether the two countries can reach a deal soon to keep Canada in the trading bloc.
The Star obtained the comments from a Trump interview with Bloomberg News. Trump wanted the comments to remain private because otherwise “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”
Trump tweeted that the leak was evidence of dishonest reporting:
Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2018
It is not clear how the comments were leaked to the Star.
In response, Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said only, “The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries.”
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters about the talks, “We aren’t there yet.”
Freeland struck an upbeat note when she arrived at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative Friday, telling reporters she would provide them with an update following a meeting with Robert Lighthizer.
–The Associated Press contributed to this report.