Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s relationship with the United States is “extremely strong” — despite President Donald Trump calling him “two-faced” after the Canadian prime minister was caught venting on camera as world leaders gathered in London at the NATO summit.
A misery-loves-company moment involving Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson, among others, has gone viral since it was captured on video during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night.
In the video, captured by the pool camera, Johnson can be heard asking Macron, “Is that why you were late?”
“He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference at the top,” Trudeau responds.
Trump is not mentioned by name. But Trudeau told reporters during a closing news conference on Wednesday that the president had a “notable” unscheduled news conference that day.
The footage also shows Trudeau saying, “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Trudeau later said that was a reference to Trump announcing the next G7 gathering will be held at Camp David.
“Every different leader has teams who every now and then have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself, for example,” said Trudeau.
Trump’s audio also captured
Trump was asked about Trudeau’s comments on Wednesday. “He’s two-faced,” the president replied.
“I find him to be a nice guy, but the truth is, I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying two per cent and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” said Trump, referring to NATO’s target for alliance members’ spending on defence. He spoke during a media availability Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Later that day, a member of the pool crew travelling with the president caught audio of Trump talking about his comments.
“That was funny when I said that guy was two-faced,” said Trump.
On Tuesday, Trump told journalists in a wide-ranging news conference that he’s confident Canada will boost its military spending, and jokingly called Canada “slightly delinquent” when it comes to meeting NATO’s target for defence spending.
“So I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about that, but that’s the way it is,” said Trump, after the Trudeau video made international headlines.
“It’s Canada. They have money.”
Apart from defence spending, Trump and Trudeau were expected to talk about some high-profile and sensitive files during their sitdown meeting Tuesday, including the detention of two Canadian men in China and the progress of the new North American free trade deal.
“I think people know that the relationship between Canada and the United States is deep and goes far beyond the relationship between the prime minister and the president, although I will say, as you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.
“The relationship between Canada and the United States is extremely strong, and I have a very good relationship with President Trump and his team.”
As leaders sat down for their first working session on Wednesday morning, Trudeau sought out Trump. The two men shook hands briefly, but exchanged few words.
Back in Ottawa, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh seized on the moment, saying Trudeau has a record of saying one thing in public and something else behind closed doors.
“He talks about the importance of Indigenous relationships as being a priority in public, but then in a closed door fundraiser with wealthy donors, he mocked and made fun of activists [who] were complaining about a legitimate concern about clean drinking water and mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows,” he said.
“There’s many reasons to criticize Mr. Trump, but criticizing about making someone late to a cocktail party is not one.”
NATO summit wraps
It was an eventful NATO summit for Trump, who cancelled his final press conference Wednesday and headed back to the U.S.
He clashed publicly with Macron on Tuesday during their extended news conference. The two disagreed over Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria and the French president’s description of NATO as being “brain dead.”
Prior to the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country would oppose a NATO plan to defend the Baltic states unless the alliance backed Turkey’s action against Kurdish groups which it considers terrorists.
The NATO leaders, who earlier Wednesday morning gathered for the annual family photo, talked about everything from the fight against terrorism to relationships with Russia and the rise of China.
For his part, Johnson was expected to remind NATO leaders behind closed doors that their commitment to mutual defence is at the heart of the alliance.
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@JustinTrudeau</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@EmmanuelMacron</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BorisJohnson</a> and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday. No one mentions <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@realDonaldTrump</a> by name, but they seem to be discussing his lengthy impromptu press conferences from earlier in the day. (Video: Host Pool) <a href=”https://t.co/dVgj48rpOP”>pic.twitter.com/dVgj48rpOP</a>