Donald Trump signaled Monday in his first tweets from Singapore exactly where his focus was heading into a nuclear summit with Kim Jong-un – and it wasn’t on the decades-old dispute with North Korea over its threatening behavior.
Trump instead took aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he’s been sparring with from across the International Dateline over steel and aluminum tariffs the U.S. imposed on its allies in the name of national security.
‘Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal,’ Trump on Monday morning harrumphed. ‘According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out!’
The European Union was next on Trump’s list, with the president complaining in follow-up tweets that the U.S. foots the bill for the bulk of the West’s shared security through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization only to get ripped off by the very same countries in the trade arena.
Only after the rant did Trump mention the ‘excitement in the air’ in Singapore, the host nation to his Kim summit, saying it was ‘great’ to be in the high-class city that doubles as a nation.
Donald Trump signaled Monday in his first tweets from Singapore exactly where his focus was heading into a nuclear summit with Kim Jong-un – and it wasn’t on the decades-old dispute with North Korea over its threatening behavior
Trump instead took aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he’s been sparring with from across the International Dateline over steel and aluminum tariffs the U.S. imposed on its allies in the name of national security
Trudeau was a target of the administration’s complaining on Sunday and into Monday, becoming the fall guy if Trump’s talks failed with North Korea this week
The U.S. president arrived in Singapore on Sunday evening local time for talks could change the course of history and earn him the Nobel Peace Prize, if successful in convincing the world’s most isolated nation to end its pursuit of mankind’s most deadly weapons.
After a grueling 21 hours of travel that included a refueling stop on a Greek island, Trump touched down at Paya Labar Air Base in Singapore. He told journalists nearby he was feeling ‘very good’ about his meeting on Tuesday morning local time with Kim Jong-un and then sped off in his motorcade to conclude his first evening in the country in privacy of his room at the Shangri-La, the luxury hotel housing the U.S. delegation.
This afternoon he meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, following in the footsteps of Kim, who sat down with the head of the summit’s host nation after his own arrival on Sunday afternoon via an Air China flight.
Kim is staying at the St. Regis hotel, near Trump. The foreign leaders will hold their summit at a third location, the Capella Resort, ensconced on 30 acres of land south of the city on Sentosa Island.
White House guidance for Monday was vague about how Trump was spending his time in the lead-up to his meeting with Kim, aside from his meet-and-greet with Lee at the presidential palace, which houses the prime minister’s office.
Trump will also be spending time with U.S. embassy staff this afternoon behind closed doors, according his public schedule.
Tomorrow morning, he will finally sit down with Kim for the first face-to-face discussion between a U.S. president and North Korean autocrat since Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, assumed power in 1948.
President Trump has boldly predicted that the summit with Kim Jong-un will be a ‘great success’ and have a positive outcome not just for the two parties but for the world at large.
And if the summit doesn’t go as planned, the Trump administration said Sunday it would be Canada’s fault for trying to exploit its relationship with the U.S.
‘Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on Trade anymore,’ Trump tweeted. ‘We must put the American worker first!’
The U.S. president was all smiles as he met with Trudeau in Canada – that was before the foreign leader dissed him after he left Canada behind his back
After a grueling 21 hours of travel that included a refueling stop on a Greek island, Trump touched down at Paya Labar Air Base on Sunday evening for a Tuesday meeting with North Korea’s Kim
In this Sunday photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, waves as he leaves for Singapore, at Pyongyang international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency
Trump advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro claimed there was a ‘special place in hell’ for Trudeau on the United States’ top-watched Sunday news programs, claiming he ‘stabbed us in the back’ with the explicit intention of making Trump look weak ahead of his meeting with Kim.
‘He really kind of stabbed us in the back. He really, actually, you know: he did a great disservice to the whole G-7. He betrayed,’ Kudlow, the president’s chief economic adviser, told CNN on ‘State of the Union.’
Kudlow trashed Trudeau in the interview for going ‘rogue’ on trade after the Trump agreed to sign a G7 communique. The U.S. official said that Trudeau has acted ‘sophomoric’ and was performing a ‘political stunt.’
‘You just don’t behave that way. It’s a betrayal. Essentially double-crossing,’ Kudlow said in response to Trudeau’s needling on tariffs after Trump departed Charlevoix early in order to spend additional time in Singapore.
The top aide to Trump when it comes to the economy said the former businessman ‘is not gonna let a Canadian prime minister push him around’ and is ‘not going to permit any show of weakness on a trip to negotiate with North Korea.’
‘He can’t put Trump in a position of being weak going into the North Korean talks. He can’t do that. And by the way, President Trump is not weak,’ Kudlow argued. ‘Kim must not see American weakness. It’s that short.’
Attacking Trudeau on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ Kudlow barked, ‘The president is going to negotiate with Kim of North Korea and Singapore. It is a historic negotiation and there is no way this president is not going to stand strong. Number one he’s not going to allow the people to suddenly take pot shots at him. Hours before that summit and number two Trudeau should’ve known better.’
Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro charged on ‘Fox News Sunday’ that ‘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 said, ‘That’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference.’
‘To my friends in Canada,’ he added, ‘that was one of the worst political miscalculations of a Canadian leader in modern Canadian history.’
After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, President Trump told journalists nearby he was feeling ‘very good’ about his meeting on Tuesday morning local time with Kim
Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (L) welcomes President Trump after Air Force One arrived at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore on Sunday evening
In this photo released by the Ministry of Communications and Information of Singapore, Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan greets Kim at the Changi International Airport on Sunday
Police officers patrol outside the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore ahead of the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump is staying in the Shangri-La for the duration of the summit
The broadsides at Trudeau were a 180 from Trump’s own remarks when he left Charlevoix on Saturday morning Eastern Daylight Time.
‘I will say, it was not contentious. What was strong was the language that this cannot go on,’ he said of trade deficits with Canada and Europe in response to a question about his meetings with the heads of government of his host nation and France. ‘But the relationships are very good, whether it be President Macron or with Justin. We had — Justin did a really good job. I think the relationships were outstanding.’
Trudeau said at a news conference of his own after Trump was in the air on his way to Singapore that Canada ‘particularly did not take lightly’ the U.S. claim that worldwide tariffs on aluminum and steel are ‘based on a national security reason.’
Trump has claimed unequivocally that they are also about creating what he sees as trade parity. Canada is enacting retaliatory tariffs in response.
‘I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do,’ Trudeau said at his news conference. ‘As Canadians, we are polite, we’re reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around.’
Trump blew up on Twitter, tweeting midway through his journey, ‘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 & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!’ the U.S. president said, affirming Trudeau’s point about the administration’s national security excuses.
Trump said that the ‘false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies’ had led him to make an about-face on the joint communique.
‘I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique,’ he said, ‘as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!’
A vehicle believed to be carrying Kim Jong Un travels through Singapore on Sunday
Spectators gathered to watch the Air China flight carrying Kim land on Sunday afternoon local time in Singapore
A first-term president with no prior political experience who has a flare for the dramatics, Trump’s skeptics say this week’s summit with Kim will serve as little more than a misguided photo-op
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Sunday as Trudeau took on heavy artillery fire from the U.S. that her country doesn’t find the attacks ‘appropriate or useful’ to trade negotiations and the countries’ security partnership.
She also said that Canada is ‘very measured’ in its actions and that Trudeau and other government officials ‘use fact-based arguments.’
Trump joined in on the Trudeau bashing on Monday morning from Singapore with a series of tweets that made clear that he sees no difference between the United States’ friends and enemies when it comes to the way he plans to pursue trade policy.
‘Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades, while our Farmers, Workers & Taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay? Not fair to the PEOPLE of America! $800 Billion Trade Deficit…,’ he said.
Minutes later he finished the thought, bringing up the Western security alliance that he believes the U.S. pays too much to maintain.
‘And add to that the fact that the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost-and laugh!),’ he said. ‘The European Union had a $151 Billion Surplus-should pay much more for Military!’
Trump left France’s Macron alone in the tweets, singling out Germany, whose leader, Angela Merkel, he did not meet with at the G7, as a major offender of the United States’ generosity.
‘Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense?’ he asked. ‘We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!’
As if remembering, or being reminded, of what his focus was supposed to be on, Trump said three minutes after his last tweet on trade that it was ‘great’ to be in Singapore.
Nearly an hour passed before Trump shoved in one more point – that he would not let America’s friends or enemies ‘take advantage of us’ on trade anymore – before he moved on with his day.
The tweets demonstrated Trump’s fixation with America’s trade posturing at a time when he was supposed to be preparing for a discussion on denuclearization with the world’s most notorious dictator.
A first-term president with no prior political experience who has a flare for the dramatics, Trump’s skeptics had already said this week’s summit would serve as little more than a misguided photo-op.
His admission in the lead up to the trip that he’d done little to get ready for the face-to-face with the 33-year-old brute and was relying on his ‘attitude’ and ‘willingness’ to strike an accord did little to lessen anxiety at home that Trump was hurling himself in the direction of a catastrophic mistake.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday chided that ‘the situation is far too dangerous for seat of the pants negotiating’ after warning Trump earlier in the week against entering an agreement with Kim ‘just for the sake of reaching a deal.’
The sniping from the sidelines prompted Trump to charge that Schumer and his party ‘did NOTHING about North Korea’ and is now ‘telling me what to do at the Summit the Dems could never set up.’
‘Schumer failed with North Korea and Iran,’ he tweeted, ‘we don’t need his advice!’
The 71-year-old billionaire whose birthday is Thursday reassured naysayers Friday that he has ‘been preparing all my life’ for the showdown with Kim and said Saturday at a media availability that ‘within the first minute’ he expects to know if his negotiating partner is serious about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Following a short conversation with Singapore government officials sent to greet him, the U.S. president then sped off in his motorcade to conclude his first evening in Singapore in the privacy of his room at the luxury hotel housing the U.S. delegation.
Kim and Trump are not in the same hotel. the North Korean dicator is staying at the nearby St. Regis hotel in Singapore during the summit
Police inspect vehicles at a checkpoint at the back of the St Regis Hotel on Sunday
Members of the North Korean delegation are seen in Singapore on Sunday
Security was heightened outside of the hotels the two men are staying at, as well as the site of the summit on Sunday
The White House claimed in an early Monday morning in a statement that Trump had in fact spent time reviewing documents en route to Singapore that would aide him in his discussions with Kim. He also received briefings, the statement said, from his National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
‘During the flight the President spent time meeting with his staff, reading materials, and preparing for his meetings in Singapore,’ the statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
His swipes at Trudeau later in the day may have been their own form of political theater, with Trump stringing up the Canadian leader just to beat him down in order to show Kim that he won’t be trifled with.
Singaporean gather in front of the Istana Presidential Palace, where North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were about to meet in Singapore
Kim meets with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Sunday
The two letters met for private talks prior to Trump’s arrival; the U.S. president will take his turn with the PM on Monday
Kim Yong Chol, a close aide to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, walks in the Istana
Police officers escorting the motorcade of Kim park after he arrives at the Istana
Trump has repeatedly said he will get up and leave the meeting that he now claims will be only a first step in the direction of North Korean denuclearization if talks are not productive.
‘If I think it won’t happen, I’m not going to waste my time. I don’t want to waste his time,’ Trump said Saturday before departing the G7.
The U.S. president has already called the summit off once in a reminder to Kim that Trump will not tolerate impertinent behavior.
‘You have to be able to walk away,’ he reminded at a Friday news conference.
The U.S. president and former reality TV star says that the meeting with Kim will be ‘at a minimum’ the beginning of ‘a good relationship’ between himself and the North Korean leader.
The jet carrying Kim landed at Singapore’s Changi airport on Sunday afternoon amid huge security precautions on the city-state island
In this Saturday, June 9, 2018, photo, a surveillance camera is seen at the entrance to the driveway of Capella Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore. A new surveillance camera is installed and restaurants closed on Singapore’s Sentosa Island, a popular tropical getaway now easing into the political spotlight ahead of Tuesday’s summit
The historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will be held at the Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island
It was restored as a five-star hotel in 2009 by British architect Norman Foster and still retains many of its colonial features
A timeline showing the build-up to the historic Trump-Kim summit
The upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore will kick off a potentially lengthy diplomatic process to try to resolve the standoff over Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Here’s a look at how the diplomacy took shape this year:
January 1: After an unusually provocative 2017 during which North Korea tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim tries to initiate diplomacy in his annual new year’s address. He calls for improved relations and engagement with South Korea, though adds that he has a nuclear button on his desk. Trump responds on Twitter that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, adding ‘and my Button works!’
January 9: North and South Korean officials meet at a border village and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Winter Olympics in the South. Hundreds of North Koreans go to the Pyeongchang Games in February, including Kim’s sister, who conveys her brother’s desire for an inter-Korean summit with South Korea’s president.
March 5-6: South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong visits Kim in Pyongyang and reports that the North Korean leader is willing to discuss the fate of his nuclear arsenal with the United States.
March 8: South Korean envoys meet Trump in Washington and deliver an invitation from Kim to meet; Trump accepts.
March 27: Kim makes a surprise visit to Beijing for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in an apparent move to strengthen his leverage ahead of any talks with Trump.
April 18: Trump confirms that Mike Pompeo, then the CIA chief, had met Kim secretly in North Korea and said ‘a good relationship was formed’ heading into the anticipated summit.
April 21: North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and ICBM tests and plans to close its nuclear test site as part of a shift in its national focus to developing its economy. Trump tweets: ‘This is very good news for North Korea and the World.’
April 27: Kim holds a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The leaders announce aspirational goals of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.
orth Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, poses with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a photo inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, on April 27
May 7: Kim meets Xi again in China and calls for stronger strategic co-operation between the traditional allies.
May 9: Pompeo, now US secretary of state, makes another visit to Pyongyang to prepare for the planned Trump-Kim summit. North Korea releases three Americans who had been imprisoned.
May 10: Trump announces he will meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12. He tweets: ‘We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!’
May 12: North Korea says it will hold a ceremony to dismantle its nuclear test site between May 23-25.
May 16: North Korea abruptly cancels a high-level meeting with the South and threatens to cancel the summit with Trump too in protest over US-South Korean military exercises and US comments that the North should follow the ‘Libya model’ of denuclearisation by eliminating everything upfront. The North says it will not be unilaterally pressured into abandoning its nuclear programme.
May 22: Trump and Moon meet at the White House to discuss the Trump-Kim talks. The South Korean president says the ‘fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge’ on the meeting in Singapore.
May 24: A senior North Korean diplomat calls US Vice President Mike Pence a ‘political dummy’ for his comments on the North and says it is up to the Americans whether they ‘meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at (a) nuclear-to-nuclear showdown’. North Korea dismantles its nuclear testing ground in front of foreign journalists, but Trump announces hours later that he is pulling out of the summit, citing the North’s ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’.
May 25: North Korea attempts damage control, saying it is still willing to hold talks with the United States ‘at any time, (in) any format’. Moon calls Trump’s move to cancel the summit ‘very perplexing’ and says Washington and Pyongyang should get the talks back on track.
May 26: Kim and Moon meet at a border village in an effort to revive the summit with Trump. Moon says Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearise their peninsula but also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to provide a credible security guarantee in return.
May 30: North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years, arrives in New York for pre-summit negotiations with Pompeo.
June 1: After meeting Kim Yong Chol at the White House, Trump says his meeting with Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12.
June 5: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets that the Trump-Kim meeting will be held at Singapore’s Capella Hotel.