“America first,” U.S. President Donald Trump famously said 14,806 times in 2016, while campaigning to redecorate the Oval Office to match a gangster’s teeth. He said it when asked whether he’d like coffee or tea his first morning at the White House. He repeated it in response to earnest queries over whether he favours the Keynesian economic model or Hayek’s, when it comes to a government’s fiscal response to a recession. He shouted it when asked which team he intended to cheer for in this year’s World Cup Final. And he muttered it often in regards to his intention to renegotiate what the North American Free Trade Agreement is called.
Last night, after more than a year’s worth of negotiations, billions of dollars in punitive tariffs, and repeatedly referring to America’s largest trading partner as a security threat, President Trump finally made good on the thing that it is now clear mattered most to him throughout the entire process: renaming the agreement.
“America first,” the president reportedly said, when told that negotiators were closing in on a deal between the four inextricably-linked economies (Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Trump Luxury Real Estate™). Asked what specific provision or chapter of the new agreement he was referring to, Trump pointed at the top of the first page and nodded emphatically when an aide ventured to guess that he meant the name.
In response, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister Of Herding Pompous Cats, pointed out that if in fact NAFTA needed a new title – which, she added, seemed a bit like calling your Ford a Chevy after simply changing the tires – that it would technically make more sense for it to be called the CAMUS agreement. She logically explained that doing so would hew to the well-established tradition of alphabetical order, as well as make the new moniker a proper acronym, and avoid the inevitable comparisons to how much more fun it is to stay at the YMCA.
“America first.” Trump replied, after being briefed on the Canadians’ stance, which First Lady Melania later revealed is also his customary way of saying good night, leaving open the possibility that the president was simply turning in for the evening. Supporting that theory is the fact that Trump went to bed immediately after loudly stating the country he was standing in, and which base Bill Buckner was playing when he lost the World Series for the Red Sox.
“Fine,” Freeland said, having consulted with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -who was overheard asking if that was what this whole shit show was about, in a whispered aside to his Minister of Burnishing Fragile Egos. “The USMCA it is. But if I may add a personal aside,” she said looking up from her copy of the newish agreement, and across the table at her American counterparts.
“Old friends. There’s no need to feel down. I said old friends, get yourselves off the ground. I said old friends, cause you’re in a new town. There’s no need. To. Be. Unhappy.”