Trump slammed Trudeau, the leader of one of the United States’ closest allies, during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday, hours after meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“I get into Air Force One, the television’s on, and I see a news conference being given by [Trudeau],” Trump said of leaving the G-7 summit held in Canada this weekend. “And then he talked about how they won’t be bullied. And I said, ‘What’s this all about? He didn’t do that to my face, what’s this all about?’”
He added: “I actually like Justin, you know, I think he’s good, I like him, but he shouldn’t have done that. That was a mistake. That’s going to cost him a lot of money.”
Trudeau on Saturday pushed back against Trump’s decision to impose stiff tariffs on Canada, vowing not to be “pushed around” by the U.S.
“Canadians... stood shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in far-off lands in conflicts from the First World War onward,” Trudeau said at a press conference Saturday, The Washington Post reported. “It’s kind of insulting... Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
Trump quickly fired back on Twitter, calling Trudeau’s statement “very dishonest and weak” and claiming the prime minister had been “meek and mild” at the G-7 summit.
Trump’s behavior at the G-7 summit was criticized by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as being antagonistic of U.S. allies. But Trump defended his actions on Tuesday.
“I have great friendships,” he told Stephanopoulos. “I have a very good relationship with [Japanese] Prime Minister [Shinzō] Abe. I have [a] great relationship with the new man who I like a lot, as you know, from Italy. He just won and you know, we had very good. And frankly really good with [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel. Really good pretty much with all of them.”
He also addressed the viral photo from the G-7 summit, in which Merkel is shown planting both hands firmly on a table as she addresses Trump, who is seated before her with his arms crossed wearing a dispassionate expression.
Some suspected the photo captured the overall tension of the summit, given Trump’s threats to “stop trading” with fellow G-7 members, including Germany and Canada, if they don’t end what he says are unfair trade practices.
“That was, that was such an innocent picture,” Trump told Stephanopoulos. “You know, we put out that picture. That was put out by my people.”
“That picture was supposed to be a friendly picture,” he continued. “That was put out by us. And we were waiting for the document to come back so we could read it... You should ask Prime Minister Abe. Everybody was happy.”
Although Trump suggested it was “his people” who released the photo, Jesco Denze, a photographer for the German government, took the photo Saturday, according to The New York Times. The photo was then posted to Merkel’s verified Instagram account.
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, tweeted the photo Saturday, appearing to erroneously credit Merkel’s spokesman Steffan Seibert with snapping the photo.
When asked Tuesday for clarification about the photo’s release, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House had “released a couple of photos from the meeting.” She did not specify whether the viral G-7 summit photo was one of them, and did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
This story has been updated with information about the G-7 summit photo, as well as Sanders’ comments.