“I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,” Navarro said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network. “I own that, that was my mistake, those were my words.”
Asked if he was offering Trudeau an apology, Navarro said “yes, absolutely.”
But the White House adviser did not say what precisely it was that Trudeau said at a press conference following the G-7 summit over the weekend that warranted the White House’s aggressive response.
Trudeau had simply reiterated Canada’s stated plan of imposing retaliatory dollar-for-dollar tariffs in response to the new American tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. He also said Canada “will not be pushed around.”
In response, Navarro said in an interview Sunday that “there’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”
“And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference,” he added Sunday, noting his comments came “right from Air Force One.”
Navarro took a decidedly more conciliatory tone Tuesday, but still asserted that Trudeau had committed a “breach of protocol” that the Trump administration considered “inappropriate.” He also called Trump’s meeting with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un Tuesday “far more important” than the G-7.
“I want to correct a mistake I made last Sunday,” he said. “The day before, on Saturday, at the end of what was a successful and friendly G-7 summit, shortly after Air Force One and the President left Canadian air space, the Prime Minister of Canada held a press conference that this administration viewed as a breach of protocol and inappropriate.”
“The next morning, on Fox News, my job — my mission — was to send a very strong signal of strength. And this was particularly important on the eve of a far more important summit in Korea.” (The summit was actually in Singapore.)
“I used language that was inappropriate and basically lost the power of that message,” he said. “I own that, that was my mistake, those were my words.”
Watch below via the Wall Street Journal: