Trump sent the Canadian embassy a note joking that he hoped Trudeau wasn't 'the anti-Trump,' and the Canadian ambassador reportedly thought they were being pranked

trump trudeauJonathan Ernst/Reuters
  • The Canadian ambassador to the US thought he was being pranked when President Donald Trump sent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a note jokingly hoping Trudeau wasn't "the anti-Trump," Axios reported.
  • In May 2017, Bloomberg's Businessweek Magazine featured Trudeau on their cover and called him "the anti-Trump." 
  • Sources familiar with the matter told Axios that Trump ripped the cover off the magazine, wrote, "Looking good! Hope it's not true!" in silver Sharpie pen, and mailed it to the Canadian embassy in Washington.
  • One source told Axios Trump's note "was done in good fun and would be interpreted as positive outreach."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Canadian ambassador to the US thought Canada was being pranked when President Donald Trump sent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a note jokingly hoping Trudeau wasn't "the anti-Trump," Axios reported on Sunday.

Sources familiar with the matter told Axios that when Bloomberg's Businessweek Magazine featured Trudeau on its cover and named him "the anti-Trump" in May of 2017, Trump ripped the cover off the magazine, wrote, "Looking good! Hope it's not true!" in silver Sharpie pen, and sent it to the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC.

While Trump intended for the note to be a well-meaning and light-hearted joke, the Canadian ambassador initially thought someone was pranking the embassy and reached out to the White House to confirm it was real, sources told Axios. 

One source told the outlet that while some White House staff suggested that the annotated cover wasn't the right way to correspond with a fellow world leader, they thought "it was done in good fun and would be interpreted as positive outreach."

Axios reported that Trump and Trudeau exchanged multiple handwritten notes - at least two written in Trump's trademark Sharpie - on the US-Canada trade relationship, among other topics. 

The once amicable and calm relationship between the US and Canada was upended when Trump took office and attacked Canada's trade policies, enacted tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, and insisted on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Read more: Justin Trudeau reportedly drew a smiley face to describe the US-Canada trade surplus in a note to Trump

In December of that year, Trump reportedly sent Trudeau a note lamenting the deficit in the trade of goods between the US and Canada, writing "not good!" in Sharpie.

In response, Trudeau sent Trump documents from the office of the US Trade Representative in Trump's own administration proving that, at the time, the US held a $12.5 billion net surplus in the trade of goods and services with Canada, sources told Axios. 

A Canadian official told Axios that "it is certainly true that there were disagreements between our 2 countries about the figures, and we repeatedly pointed to USTR and U.S. Commerce's own figures" and did not deny that Trump sent Trudeau the Bloomberg cover. 

Read more:

Trudeau slams Trump's racist remarks to progressive congresswomen: 'That is not how we do things in Canada'

11 mind-blowing facts about Canada's economy

Inside the 20-day manhunt for 2 Canadian teens police believe went on a brutal killing spree

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