How Don­ald Trump looms in the back­ground of PM’s United States trip

Asian Journal - - Nation - By Alexan­der Panetta, The Cana­dian Press

New York: Justin Trudeau has been tip­toe­ing around the edges of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion be­fore Amer­i­can au­di­ences, with­out quite im­mers­ing his toe in U.S. political com­men­tary. The prime min­is­ter has been asked re­peat­edly dur­ing his vis­its to Wash­ing­ton and New York what he thinks of the Don­ald Trump phe­nom­e­non and he hasn’t di­rectly men­tioned the bil­lion­aire’s name. He curtly told a news con­fer­ence at the United Na­tions yes­ter­day that he had faith in the bet­ter an­gels of Amer­i­cans’ na­ture, not­ing he was para­phras­ing Abra­ham Lin­coln. Later in the evening he told a friendly high-pow­ered crowd in the ball­room of the Wal­dorf As­to­ria ho­tel that he’d only been able to in­tro­duce poli­cies like a gen­der-par­ity cab­i­net and wel­com­ing refugees be­cause vot­ers had sup­ported his ap­proach to pol­i­tics. “As much as I was able to do, and my govern­ment was able to do, we only did it be­cause Cana­di­ans made a choice: to choose a more open, fair, pos­i­tive way of do­ing pol­i­tics,’’ he told the crowd, which in­cluded the heads of McDon­ald’s, Camp­bell Soup, Shell, and the Car­ni­val Cor­po­ra­tion. Then he added: “That is cer­tainly some­thing that I hope res­onates through political sys­tems around the world.’’ That last line prompted laugh­ter and per­haps his loud­est ap­plause of the evening, louder even than his ref­er­ences to the gen­der-par­ity cab­i­net, which is why he was in­vited to the gala and given the award from the women’s group Cat­a­lyst. Amid the claps, he added: “I’m not think­ing of any place in par­tic­u­lar!’’ Sev­eral for­mer Cana­dian am­bas­sadors to the U.S. have pub­licly warned the prime min­is­ter not to talk about the U.S. elec­tion, say­ing it would be a mis­take to turn Canada into an is­sue in a messy elec­tion. But he keeps get­ting asked, and he in­sists he’d work with who­ever Amer­i­cans elect, while some­times sprin­kling that with an al­lu­sion to the bet­ter an­gels of Amer­i­cans’ na­ture.

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