Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” after a hot-mic video captured the Canadian prime minister joking about the U.S. president’s extended remarks to reporters at a NATO summit this week.
“He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. “I find him to be a very nice guy, but the truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2% and I guess he’s not happy about it.”
A TV camera caught Trudeau apparently joking about Trump with France’s Emmanuel Macron and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson at a reception on Tuesday. The U.S. president wasn’t present.
Johnson asked Macron why he had arrived late to the reception, and Trudeau interjected, saying, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
The remark was an apparent reference to Trump’s penchant for holding impromptu news conferences at the beginning of his meetings with other leaders. Trump spoke to reporters for more than two hours combined on Tuesday before meetings with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, Macron and Trudeau.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau added.
In his meeting with Trudeau, Trump questioned the Canadian prime minister about how much his country spends on its own defense. Canada does not meet NATO’s target for member countries to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. The U.S. president has demanded, often in strident terms, that NATO allies raise their defense spending.
Trudeau had a quiet word and a handshake with Trump as he arrived at the summit Wednesday, and later tried to shrug off the episode.
“As you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference.
Asked if the incident had given him pause for thought, Trudeau said that ensuring the focus of attention remained on matters of substance “is something that we’re all going to try to do a little harder.”
Johnson, meanwhile, professed ignorance when asked by reporters about the conversation.
“That’s complete nonsense,” he said, adding: “I really don’t know what is being referred to there.”
This report contains material from Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.
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