U.S. President Donald Trump says he rejected a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau because he's upset with Canadian tariffs - but Trudeau's office says it never extended any invitation.
Trump made the remarks during a news conference in NY on Wednesday when he was asked if he had, in fact, snubbed Trudeau.
"Yeah I did", president Trump answered.
"We know that Canada's interests are what we have to stand up for and we will", Trudeau said, speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations in NY.
But the president wasn't done.
And he warned the U.S. would soon go after Canadian auto imports.
Trump called Mexico "great" as the two countries have come to a trade deal agreement. "That's the big one".
"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada".
And then, for good measure: "We don't like their representative very much". We don't like their representative very much, ' Trump said in an apparent reference to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who has been negotiating with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Trump's comments on Wednesday made it clear he wasn't expecting any breakthrough in the coming days.
A source told the National Post Wednesday that Jared Kushner had been trying to orchestrate a last-minute summit between Trump, his father-in-law, and Trudeau in the hope of breaking logjams in the trade talks.
"I mean Mexico has 25 percent of our oil business now because of NAFTA", said Trump.
A day earlier, Lighthizer himself also said many contentious issues remain, but suggested the problem lay with the Canadian side.
The US leader has also threatened to leave Canada out of the deal unless it signs up to the agreement by Sunday. "(Trudeau's) tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move".
The pressure, of course, is mounting.
Meanwhile, analysts with JPMorgan Chase predict that if the United States and Mexico proceed with the deal alone, the Canadian dollar would be gravely impacted. The U.S. had been pressing to reach a deal that included Canada as well, but talks are expected to continue anyhow.
First, there were the comments from US national security adviser John Bolton, who suggested Monday that requests for a bilateral meeting "couldn't be accommodated".
The official declined to be named because the matter has not yet been made public.
The next day, what appeared to be a brusque encounter between the two leaders - Trump appeared to ignore the prime minister at a United Nations luncheon until Trudeau tapped him on the shoulder, only to shake hands with a still-seated president - sent tongues wagging.