5 REVEALING MOMENTS FROM THE TRUMP-TRUDEAU MEETING
1. A mutual peace pact
Trudeau’s steadfast refusal to criticize Trump made news even in America. But just as notable was Trump’s refusal to criticize Trudeau. The president was impassive even when prodded on live TV. Asked a question about the Canadian border and Trudeau’s acceptance of Syrian refugees, Trump chose to tout his efforts to deport illegal immigrants — most of whom are Hispanics who live far from the 49th parallel.
2. A fair shake
Vladimir Putin has the shirtless horseback ride. Donald Trump has the intense handshake. At 70, the ferocious alpha-grip is how a president obsessed with dominance shows off his physical prowess. Trudeau, former drama teacher, came prepared for the performance.
3. Flynn left out
One key story out of the joint news conference was what wasn’t asked: a question to Trump about National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over reports he discussed sanctions against Russia with Russia’s ambassador before Trump took office, then lied about it. “HOW IS THERE NO FLYNN QUESTION!?!?!?!?!” MSNBC host Christopher Hayes wrote on Twitter. The answer: the White House made sure there was no Flynn question. The Canadian and U.S. media contingents each got to ask two questions. The Canadians drew names from someone’s palm to decide which reporters got to do the asking. The American interlocutors were selected by Trump officials.
4. Almost normal
“We’re guided by the same values,” President Barack Obama said when welcoming Trudeau to the White House last year. “We share the same values,” Trump said beside Trudeau on Monday.
The tone was not especially warm. There was an unprompted Trumpian ramble-boast about the size of his victory in the Electoral College. But the day was notable, in large part, for its boring conventionality.
5. Ivanka in charge
The Canadians had a stroke of strategic inspiration: get in Trump’s good books by doing a kind of favour for his daughter. The executives who were part of a White House discussion on advancing female business leaders came away with praise for the joint initiative. Ivanka impressed the participating businesswomen with her thoughts. And then, after they left, she advertised herself — tweeting a photo of her at the president’s desk, a progressive prime minister behind her.