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The Social took the opportunity last week to get behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he was caught making fun of US President Donald Trump to other world leaders, framing it as Trudeau facing “a bully”, and that we, as Canadians like to “play clean”.
“Sometimes you have to face a bully with a squad,” said Melissa Grelo on the show. She referenced French President Macron’s attempts to push back against Trump’s comments on Isis fighters.
Do Canadians believe that Trudeau’s jokes about Trump were part of a meeting of leaders, coming together to face off against an unfair adversary?
It’s hard to paint talking behind someone’s back as the act of confronting a bully. On the flip side, it isn’t hard to imagine President Trump as a schoolyard bully while watching him troll French President Macron about Isis fighters. Just watching their body language provokes the image of one kid trying to get a rise out of another.
Self-described gossip expert and The Social co-host Lainey Lui commented that “what they were doing was exchanging information… gossiping is a form of communication… I’m so tired of gossip being given this bad name.” While it would be easy to dismiss this as nonsense, gossip does, in fact, create bonding among the people who share in it. Creating an “us” and a “them” brings the “us” closer together. Trudeau’s little schoolyard circle of gossip may very well have strengthened relations between Trudeau and the foreign leaders he shared it with.
Of course–there’s a reason why gossip has a bad name. It’s risky, in that it will damage the relationship with the person being gossiped about, if it is found out–as Trudeau has discovered. As far as strategy goes–it’s probably not a good idea to take any risks with our single largest trading partner.
Then there is the high road–the refusal to take part in gossip. If you’ve ever met someone with this level of character, you’ll know that there isn’t the easy bonding that comes from sharing cheap shots on someone who isn’t there to defend themselves. But, when it’s clear that you both have the same frustrations with that other person, it’s not hard to develop a deep respect for those who abstain from gossiping. After all, with that comes a trust that they won’t be talking behind your back, when you’re not around.
Hence Trump’s comment about Trudeau being “two-faced”.
At the end of the day, all world leaders need to be strategic in their relations with one another. They each need to behave in whatever way best serves the interests of their countries. Whether they choose trolling or gossiping or stately reverence, what matters is managing relationships in a way that enables them to get the job done.
But aside from all that–what was even said? I think Melissa Grelo summed up the whole issue best when she said, “this is not particularly salacious stuff–although when videos like this leak out, it sure becomes salacious.”
Perhaps it was the giddy tone in which Trudeau talked about Trump behind his back that caught the attention of top Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign team so much so that they decided to use it in an attack ad. It also probably didn’t help Canada’s relations with the US that Saturday Night Live–which Trump claims he doesn’t watch, but feels the need to trash on Twitter from time to time for its routine lampooning of him–did a whole opening sketch on Trudeau (Jimmy Fallon), French President Emmanuel Macron (Paul Rudd) and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (James Corden) belittling Trump (Alec Baldwin) in a high school cafeteria.