President Donald Trump on Wednesday called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced” after video surfaced of Trudeau and other foreign leaders appearing to mock the president during a reception at Buckingham Palace during NATO meetings.
Trump also abruptly called off a news conference that was slated to take place at the conclusion of the gathering of world leaders, opting to head back to the U.S. earlier as the House Judiciary Committee kicked off its first impeachment hearing.
In a short video circulated Tuesday by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Trudeau is heard speaking about Trump’s tardiness with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and British Princess Anne.
Trump, asked about the video that has since gone viral on social media, told reporters on Wednesday: “Well he’s two-faced.”
After a long pause, Trump, who was sitting alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, softened his response, calling Trudeau, “a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy.”
Trump said Trudeau likely was frustrated by his calls for Canada to increase its military financial contribution to the NATO alliance.
“He should be paying more than he’s paying,” Trump said. “I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it, but that’s the way it is.”
In the 25-second clip, Johnson is heard asking the leaders: “Is that why you were late?”
Trudeau, without naming Trump, replies: “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top every time.”
Trudeau's remark referred to Trump’s series of question and answer sessions with reporters on Tuesday at the top of his one-on-one meetings with Macron, Trudeau and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In another portion of the video, Trudeau notes Trump’s announcement Tuesday that next year’s G-7 summit will take place at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Trump initially had sought to host the gathering at his Miami-area resort.
“I just watched, I watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor,” Trudeau says in the video.
Macron is seen speaking, but his comments are inaudible.
Trudeau, speaking to reporters Wednesday, confirmed he was speaking about Trump.
“Last night, I made a reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, and I was happy to take part of it, but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau said. “I've had a number of good conversations with the President over the course of this day and yesterday.”
Trudeau asserted that “the relationship between Canada and the United States is extremely strong, and I have a very good relationship with President Trump and his team.”
Trump last year derided Trudeau on Twitter, calling him “meek and mild” after the prime minister took aim at some of Trump’s claims about trade negotiations between the two nations.
Johnson, a Trump supporter, attempted to distance himself from the video, dismissing reporters’ questions about the nature of the discussion.
“That’s complete nonsense,” Johnson said. “I really don’t know what is being referred to there.”