Well on his way towards making the U.S. a pariah among nations, Donald Trump reportedly told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a heated phone exchange over trade policy that he believes Canada burned down the U.S. White House during the War of 1812:
According to the sources, Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a “national security” issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812.
For the benefit of the history-starved among us, they didn’t:
The problem with Trump’s comments to Trudeau is that British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812. Historians note the British attack on Washington was in retaliation for the American attack on York, Ontario, in territory that eventually became Canada, which was then a British colony.
That Trump is more or less perceived by world leaders either as a cautionary tale of what can go wrong in a Democratic system, as a petulant toddler to be exploited for profit, or simply as an imbecile to be patiently waited out until he either leaves or is otherwise removed from office, has by now been amply established. Trump’s actions in blaming Canada for the War of 1812 will simply cement that in the minds of everyone residing above our northern continental border.
But it’s particularly embarrassing to witness him making a fool of the United States on the 74th Anniversary of D-Day, in which Canadian troops were tasked with assaulting Juno beach, one of the five designated for the Normandy invasion that ultimately led to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis powers in World War II.
Canadians comprised 14,000 of the 150,000 troops deployed on D-Day. Considered along with the American assault on Utah beach to be one of the most strategically successful of the amphibious landings, the Canadian effort still came with a high cost:
Predictions of the casualties on Juno had been about 2,000 men, including 600 drowned. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division suffered 340 men killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner. The Queen’s Own Rifles suffered 143 casualties the most of any battalion, the Royal Winnipegs 128, the North Shore 125 and the Regina Rifles 108. Of the landing craft used on the run-in to Juno, 90 of 306 were lost or damaged.
Trump, who has never sacrificed anything for anyone in his pampered lifetime, might not understand this, but Canadians (who have, almost overnight, gone from our closest strategic ally to a “national security threat”) surely will:
When asked if the comment was received as a joke, one source on the call said: “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the US won’t be a laughing matter.”
There has to be a finite number of times that countries who formerly respected the United States of America will tolerate an idiot like this at the helm before they choose to ignore us entirely on any geopolitical, strategic issue. That time may have already come to pass, in fact. The anniversary of what is arguably the most significant day in modern history ought to at least give pause to those who care to contemplate what those men were actually fighting and dying for on June 6, 1944.
Was it this? I dont think so.