Donald Trump has allegedly sent some curious handwritten letters to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, complete with Sharpie-written notes.
According to Axios, one of these letters from Trump to Trudeau was so peculiar, the Canadian ambassador double-checked with the White House to make sure it wasn’t a prank. It has been confirmed that the Canadian leader wrote back in his own hand, which has since been corroborated by several sources.
The first handwritten correspondence was a torn-out cover of a Bloomberg Businessweek cover featuring a portrait of Trudeau with the headline, “The anti-Trump.” According to sources, Trump tore the cover off the magazine and used a silver Sharpie to write something along the lines of “Looking good! Hope it’s not true!”
But sources say that before the missive from Trump was actually sent to Trudeau, it went through the usual channels, including the normal clearance process inside the National Security Council. Some White House staff members thought it was not the appropriate way to communicate with a foreign leader and not particularly presidential. However, they ultimately decided that “it was done in good fun and would be interpreted as positive outreach,” shared a source with direct knowledge of what happened. The White House mailed the magazine cover to the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
— Donald Trump News (@BestTrumpNews) August 12, 2019
But when it arrived at the desk of the ambassador, some calls were made to verify that this was for real, per Axios, which cited two sources for this claim.
“[The ambassador] called the White House to check, and a White House official confirmed to the ambassador that the note was real.”
Next, on December 8, 2017, President Trump told a rally crowd in Pensacola, Florida, that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada, which was not true. Just after the rally, Trump mailed Trudeau a document purporting to show that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada, according to a source with direct knowledge.
“Trump wrote in Sharpie on the document: ‘Not good!!’ or something to that effect,” Axios wrote. “Trump’s document only mentioned America’s deficit in the trade of goods and ignored its surplus in services.”
Trudeau reportedly responded with a handwritten note that started out friendly but ended with a “by the way,” which refuted what Trump had told people at his Florida rally.
“One thing. You gave a great speech in Pensacola, but you were slightly off on the balance of trade with Canada. USTR says so! All the best for 2018, Justin.”
To seal the deal, Trudeau included a printout of Canada’s informational page from the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Bess Levin of Vanity Fair likened Trump’s habit of ripping out magazine articles and writing on them with Sharpie similar to that of a kidnapper, cutting and pasting letters reading, “If you ever want to see your dog again…”