President Trump appeared on Friday to confirm reports that he privately said he will not compromise with Canadian officials during trade negotiations.
Trump's remarks raised doubts about whether the two countries can reach a deal to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement, along with the United States and Mexico.
The Toronto Star obtained the President's comments from an interview that he gave to Bloomberg News on Thursday.
Trump reportedly said that any NAFTA deal reached would be “totally on our terms.”
He also suggested that Canadians would have "no choice" but to go along with the deal, because they would fear Trump might impose auto tariffs.
"Off the record, Canada's working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala," Trump said, according to The Star.
The Impala is produced at a General Motors plant in Canada.
Trump reportedly wanted the comments kept under wraps because, “it's going to be so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal.”
On Friday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter and appeared to back the Star story.
Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2018
Trump's comments preceded a significant dive on Wall Street, where traders sent stock prices falling in the wake of the report.
The White House said that talks are continuing.
“The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries,” the Trump administration said in a statement.
But Canadian representatives were more cautious in their assessment of the ongoing negotiations.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the country was determined to “stand up” for its national interests. “We are looking for a good deal, not just any deal. We are not there yet.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a similar take during an appearance in Toronto.
“We have been very clear about where our red lines are,” he said. “This is something we take seriously as a renegotiation.”
Trump, who announced the outline of a trade agreement with Mexico earlier in the week, has blasted NAFTA as an out-of-date deal that harms American workers and provides too many concessions to Mexico and Canada.