On Wednesday, President Donald Trump incorrectly blamed Canada for burning down the White House in the War of 1812 during a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the U.S. government’s tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel imports.

Trump Claims Canada Burned Down The White House In War Of 1812

According to CNN, Trudeau asked Trump during a tense phone conversation last month how his administration could possibly cite national security as a reason for the tariffs, which the U.S. also imposed on Mexico and the European Union.

“Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump reportedly responded.

Trump was referring to an August 1814 episode during which the British army burned several federal buildings in Washington, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol. This came after British troops defeated American soldiers in Bladensburg, Maryland. The burnings were carried out in retaliation for a U.S. attack on York, Ontario, at a time when Canada had not yet declared its independence from the British Empire.

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Several historians emphasized exactly this: that the British were responsible for the burnings, not Canadians.

“His statement was completely inaccurate,” Maj. Tanya Grodzinski, an associate history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said of Trump.

“This was exclusively a British operation,” Grodzinski explained of the occupation of Washington. “There were no Canadian troops involved whatsoever.”

Trudeau, 46, said last week that it was “inconceivable” that the U.S. could view Canada as a national security threat.


“We have to believe that at some point common sense will prevail,” Trudeau said last week regarding the tariffs. “But we see no sign of that in this action today by the U.S. Administration.”

The Canadian Prime Minister also noted that his country has long supplied the U.S. with steel and other metals for planes and other products.

According to multiple reports, Trudeau plans to impose a 25% steel tariff and a 10% tariff on U.S. consumer goods in retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision.

Mexico also said it would retaliate for the tariffs with taxes of their own on cheese, whiskey and other U.S. imports.

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