Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he is "unconcerned" about the diplomatic crisis caused by President Donald Trump's adversarial trade posture with America's closest western allies and his extraordinary insults directed at the Canadian prime minister.
Pompeo played down the rift over Trump's behavior during and after last week's Group of Seven summit in Canada, which left allies shocked and dismayed. The top U.S. diplomat said he is confident partnerships with such countries as Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom will endure despite the current strains.
"There are always irritants in relationships," Pompeo told reporters at a news conference here in Singapore, where Trump is preparing to meet Tuesday for the first time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"I'm very confident the relationships between our countries, the United States and those G-7 countries, will continue to move forward on a strong basis," Pompeo said. "I'm unconcerned about our capacity to continue to do what we need to do."
But Pompeo stopped short of offering words of support for Canada or any other ally. And after being asked directly whether he agreed with a fellow Trump administration official that there was a "special place in hell" for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pompeo demurred, declining to disavow the inflammatory statement made Sunday by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
At the Quebec meeting of the leaders of seven industrial powers, Trump yanked the U.S. endorsement of a joint economic agreement among the seven countries. And en route from Canada to Singapore, Trump unleashed a harsh Twitter attack on Trudeau, which was amplified Sunday on television talk shows by Navarro and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.