Trump: 'I had no idea' if what I told Trudeau about trade was true

  • Audio obtained by The Washington Post reveals President Donald Trump claiming he disagreed with Canada's Justin Trudeau — without actually knowing the facts.
  • Trump says he insisted that the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada, despite Trudeau telling him otherwise, the Post reports.
President Donald Trump welcomes Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the South Lawn before their meeting about the NAFTA trade agreement at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 11, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he made up some of what he said in a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The Washington Post reported.

Trump said that, during that meeting, he insisted the U.S. had a trade deficit with Canada without knowing whether that was really the case, according to the Post, which obtained an audio recording of the president's Wednesday fundraising speech.

Here's the Post's transcription of part of the president's talk:

"Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — 'Donald, we have no trade deficit.' He's very proud because everybody else, you know, we're getting killed."

"... So, he's proud. I said, 'Wrong, Justin, you do.' I didn't even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, 'You're wrong.' You know why? Because we're so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, 'You're wrong, Justin.' He said, 'Nope, we have no trade deficit.' I said, 'Well, in that case, I feel differently,' I said, 'but I don't believe it.' I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, 'Check, because I can't believe it.'"

As The Washington Post notes, the U.S. Trade Representative office says the country actually has a trade surplus with Canada, an American ally.

The White House didn't immediately respond to CNBC's emailed request for comment.

Trump has frequently complained about the U.S.'s trade deficits with economies such as the European Union and China. He has also accused those economies of ripping off the U.S. and hurting American workers.

For more on what Trump said during the fundraising speech, see The Washington Post article.