Trump asks if Canada burnt down White House in call with PM

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The President's glib response, first reported by CNN and confirmed by The Globe and Mail, was emblematic of Mr. Trump's new attitude toward his northern neighbour, whom he is treating as his No. 1 enemy amid an escalating trade war and growing rhetorical battle with Mr. Trudeau.

"Canada's position is and always has been that the trilateral approach is actually better for Canada, Mexico and the United States".

The May 25 phone call reportedly took on a contentious tone as the two North American leaders discussed Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the E.U. The administration premised the tariffs on a little-used trade statute pertaining to threats to national security. In a tweet the next morning, he mused about shutting Canadian wood products out of America.

Canada announced plans to impose reciprocal duties on $12.8 billion worth of USA products.

Mr. Trump was notably more muted in his treatment of Mexico and the European Union, even as they announced similar retaliations.

The fight has pushed relations between Canada and its closest commercial and diplomatic partner to their tensest time in recent memory, with $900-billion of annual trade in the balance.

The introduction of protective steel and aluminum tariffs, not only for Europe but also for Canada and Mexico, "is in principle the same as sanctions, though put in other terms", the Russian President said. And tariffs are simply one more tool in the president's toolbox when it comes to repairing it.

"This is deeply offensive to Canadians", Alden said.

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Those penalties will remain in place "until the United States government eliminates tariffs imposed", Mexico's government said . The same was true of Mexico and Canada, with the latter's leader lashing out at Trump in recent days over the matter.

Last month, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Donald Trump for a justification over hiked steel and aluminium tariffs, the US President presented a stupefying historical poser.

And in answer to a question whether the United States will respect World Trade Organisation (WTO) decisions on disputes Mr Kudlow said "We are bound by the national interests here more than anything else". While Canada didn't burn down the White House - that dubious honor fell to British forces following a USA invasion of what is today Ontario - it was at least on the side of the British, which is perhaps reason enough for the president to use it as an example to make a point about Canada being a national security threat to US interests. Most famously, the country's first atomic bombs were fuelled in part by Canadian uranium.

"I regard this as much like a family quarrel".

Matthew Rooney, a former US state department official in charge of the Canada file during the Obama administration, said there have been hard times in the past. But U.S. shares rose on Wednesday.

But tensions with the current President are on a different level. Under that principle, British officers would board US vessels and force (often former) British sailors to work for them instead, which resulted in the 1807 USS Chesapeake incident in which three American sailors were killed and 16 wounded.

Soldiers did burn down the White House during the War of 1812 in response to an attack in Ontario, but Canada was still a colony of the United Kingdom at the time. The raid, made in revenge for the American burning of York - present-day Toronto - the previous year, saw the British briefly capture and set fire to the USA capital.

Regardless of what the rest of the world might think, Trump is deadly serious about reforming a global trade system he believes is fundamentally broken, he said.

Kudlow played down any conflict, saying he had "no doubt the United States and Canada will remain firm friends and allies whatever short-term disagreements may occur".