At the second day at the NATO anniversary gathering US President Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” when asked by a reporter if he saw the video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caught on a hot mic talking to other world leaders about him behind his back.
“Well, he’s two-faced… And honestly with Trudeau he’s a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy. You know the truth is, I called him out that he’s not paying two percent [GDP on military] and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said at a press conference Wednesday.
“He’s not paying two percent and he should be paying two percent. It’s Canada, they have money.”
During the NATO anniversary celebration at Buckingham Palace, Trudeau was caught on a hot mic talking to other world leaders about Trump.
“He was late because he took a 40 minute press conference off the top,” Trudeau says in response to another world leader asking why he was late. Although Trump’s name is not included in the conversation, it’s a pretty clear reference to the US President’s press conference with the media earlier on Tuesday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Princess Anne are all in the conversation, but mostly Trudeau can be heard talking.
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. He announced…” Trudeau followed up, with audio not catching the rest of his statement.
“You just watch his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau says in another part of the conversation. Johnson and Macron appear fairly animated in their talk with Trudeau, too.
The video was released by the CBC Tuesday night and has spread far and wide through social and traditional media (the CBC video has over 6 million views on Twitter alone and the New York Times picked up the story).
CBC journalist Katie Simpson pointed out that the exchange would like hurt the Trudeau’s administration’s attempts to not upset Trump. Trudeau’s staff have even set up a “friendship room” focused on Canada-US relations, with the main goal of figuring out how to get along with a mercurial and unpredictable US president.
The video captured the tail end of the first of a two-day NATO gathering.
Earlier on Tuesday Trump confronted Trudeau in front of reporters on how much Canada is spending on its military.
Trump called Canada “slightly delinquent” in its military spending, while Trudeau claimed, after getting help from aide during the press conference, Canada is spending 1.4 percent of GDP on military and that his government has increased spending by 70 percent. Many analysts disputed Trudeau’s figures, saying they do not reflect the actual amount of money the Canadian government is currently spending on defence. NATO itself estimates Canada is now spending 1.3 percent of GDP.
On Wednesday morning Trump made UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wait several minutes for another meeting in front of cameras. Late Tuesday night Trump said he “enjoyed” his meeting with Johnson earlier in the day. The New York Times reported he also had a brief, reportedly friendly, exchange with Trudeau as well.
Last year Trump blasted Trudeau on Twitter after leaving a G7 summit held in Quebec, calling the prime minister “meek and mild”. Those comments were in response to a press conference in which Trudeau said it was insulting the US had put tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.