Before traveling to Singapore for what's almost sure to be a tense, high-stakes summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump first travels to Canada Friday to attend what's shaping up to be a difficult G7 summit amid tensions over tariffs with American allies.
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Aides to the president insist that the president is looking forward to the trip. The Washington Post reported that Trump has privately complained about the trip and has been angered that his trade tussle with Canadian Prime Minister Justin has become public.
ABC News has not confirmed those reports.
“The president wants to go on the trip,” the president’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday. “The president is at ease with all of these tough issues. He's proven himself to be a leader on the world stage. And he's achieved great successes, I might add, in foreign policy. So I don't think there's any issue there at all.”
Kudlow has described tensions between President Trump and some close allies as part of a “family quarrel” and expressed optimism that the current feuds on trade can be ironed out, after the president recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
“We're talking everything through. There may be disagreements. I regard this as much like a family quarrel. I'm always the optimist. I believe it can be worked out. But I'm always hopeful on that point,” Kudlow said.
In addition to attending summit meetings, President Trump will also have one-on-one meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the summit
In spite of engaging in a recent war of words with Trudeau over tariffs, Kudlow said the two countries remain “firm friends” and that the planned bilateral meeting will be a strong opportunity for the two leaders to work out their differences.
“President Trump talks to Prime Minister Trudeau a lot and continues to do so,” Kudlow said. “I think the bilateral meeting that's scheduled between the two is a really good thing and I think they'll walk through a lot of these issues.”
He continued: “I have no doubt that the United States and Canada will remain firm friends and allies, whatever short-term disagreements may occur. So I would say relations are very good.”
While President Trump has riled international markets and upset some of the United States closest allies with his norm-defying unilateral actions on trade policy, Kudlow contended that the president “regards himself as a free trader” but is working to reform what he sees as a broken system.
“Don't blame Trump,” Kudlow said. “Blame the nations that have broken away from those conditions. Very important point….Trump is trying to fix this broken system.”
Kudlow said the traditional post-World War II free trade policies have “been broken in the last 20 years-plus” and said the World Trade Organization is “completely ineffectual.”
“I think free world trade is a very good thing indeed. But it is broken, and President Trump is trying to fix it. And that's the key point,” Trump said. “I think he's the strongest trade reformer in many decades.”