Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday admitted he was joking about President Trump with other world leaders — but minimized the incident, saying he had a “positive” relationship with Trump and agreed that NATO countries should spend more on defense.
“I have a very productive and positive relationship with Mr. Trump … we will continue to have an excellent relationship,” Trudeau told reporters during a briefing in London at the NATO meeting.
The Canadian PM was caught on video at Buckingham Palace the night before chatting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and the UK’s Princess Anne about Trump’s wide-ranging, impromptu press conference earlier in the day with Macron.
“Is that why you were late?” Johnson asked Macron.
“He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top — ‘Oh, ya, ya ya,’” Trudeau said. “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.”
On Wednesday, Trudeau said the “jaws” dropping comment referred to the surprise nature of the nearly hour-long presser, and the president’s revelation that the next meeting of the G7 would be at Camp David.
“We had a great meeting yesterday between me and the president. Last night I made a reference to the fact there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, I was happy to take part in it but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau said of the president’s performance.
“We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David, I think that was an unscheduled announcement and … I think every different leader has teams who every now and then their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example,” Trudeau said, referring to the Canadian Broadcasting Co. footage that revealed his conversation.
Trudeau also said he was happy to discuss defense spending with the commander-in-chief, who peppered Trudeau with questions about Canada’s defense spending during the Tuesday briefing.
“I was glad to have that conversation with the president,” he said.
Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” after the video surfaced, and later canceled a scheduled press conference marking the end of the gathering.
“When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!” the president tweeted.
He was later caught on a hot mic talking to others at the gathering, apparently questioning how the media would report the news of the cancellation — and calling his “two-faced” comment a joke.
“Oh, and then you know what they’ll say. ‘He didn’t do a press conference! He didn’t do a press conference!’ That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced, you know that,” he said, according to pool press reports.
Trudeau and Trump met and spoke briefly earlier in the day, but details of the conversation were not immediately available.