The war of words following the disastrous end to the G7 summit continued today as two of Donald Trump’s top economic advisers accused Canadian leader Justin Trudeau of stabbing the US President in the back.
Trump left the other nations at the G7 aghast after he pulled out of a joint communique following the meeting by tweet, threatening a further escalation in what many economists fear could be the start of a damaging trade war.
French President Emmanuel Macron today said that "international co-operation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks," in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency.
However, Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council leader, and Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, did nothing today to defuse the tensions.
Speaking to Fox News, Navarro said: “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.” Navarro is widely considered to be one of the architects of Trump’s protectionist trade policy.
Kudlow said Trudeau had “really kind of stabbed us in the back”. He had criticised US tariffs at a press conference, as Trump was leaving early to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
In response, Trump dramatically pulled out of joint statement which had been carefully worded to appease the US. Making the announcement on the Twitter social network, he accused Trudeau of “false statements”, and being “Very dishonest & weak” in an extraordinary attack on the leader of one of the US’s biggest allies.
He added that the White House will “look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US Market”, a move which could cause severe economic harm. The US has already imposed levies of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.
Speaking to CNN Kudlow said: “How many times has President Trump said, ‘If you hit me, I’m going to hit you back’?”
Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday criticised the US at the G7 meeting, saying she had registered the UK’s “deep disappointment” at the “unjustified decision” to impose the metals levies.
The acrimony between world leaders has alarmed economists, with the world’s largest economy in GDP terms apparently pursuing a trade war and abandoning its role in upholding the international order in an effort to reduce its trade deficit.
Erik Nielsen, group chief economist at UniCredit Bank, said: “The world as we know it – namely the US-led rules-based multilateralism – is now in serious danger of unraveling.”