Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken exception to the fact that the U.S. has imposed tariffs for “national security” reasons.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trudeau called the tariffs “insulting.”
WATCH: Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland talk tariffs on U.S. political shows
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced that there would be a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imports, including products from Canada.
Canada responded by imposing $16 billion worth of tariffs on the U.S.
“One of things I have to admit I’m having a lot trouble getting around is that this whole thing has come about because the president and the administration has decided that Canada – Canadian steel and aluminum – is a national security threat to the United States,” Trudeau told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
“First of all the idea that our soldiers who fought and died together on the beaches of World War II, in the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world… this is insulting to them.”
Trudeau also called the idea of Canada being a threat as “unacceptable,” and said he doesn’t know what Trump wants from the tariffs.
At the same time, a Trump aide said Trudeau was “overreacting.”
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the tariffs on steel and aluminum “may go on for a while,” or not.
WATCH: White House economic adviser says Trudeau is ‘overreacting’ to Trump tariffs
“I don’t think our tariffs are anything to do with our friendship and our longstanding alliance with Canada,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Kudlow noted that after the White House announcement of the tariffs, the United States still would welcome good-faith negotiations.
“And that’s why I regard this as more of a family quarrel. This is a trade dispute, if you will. It can be solved if people work together,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow added, “To say that it is an attack on Canada is not right.”
Trudeau says Canada is an ‘even-tempered’ moose to America’s elephant
NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Trudeau about a quote from his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in which Pierre called America an elephant.
“Living next to you (the U.S.) is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt,” Pierre Elliot Trudeau said in 1969.
WATCH BELOW: Justin Trudeau compares Canada to an ‘even-tempered moose’
“I’ve taken a different take on that than my father,” Trudeau told Todd Sunday.
“I think we’re more of a moose… You still massively outweigh us, a moose is even-tempered and strong.
“We’re aware that we have to work collectively and collaboratively with the United States, and that has been my point with the president since the very beginning.”
Trudeau says Canada has a “vested interest” in seeing the U.S. economy do well, because it’s so interconnected with our own.
The tariffs are also imposed on other allies like Mexico and the European Union, both of which have also hit back with retaliatory tariffs.
Trump and Trudeau are expected to meet next week at the G7 leaders summit in Quebec.
*with files from Reuters