Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday and was greeted by U.S. President Donald Trump, who seemed delighted to see his friend.
The two men shook hands, Trump pulled Trudeau in for a hug and put his hand on the prime minister’s trapezius muscle — the area between the shoulder and neck. Standing side-by-side and facing the cameras, Trump threw a thumbs up with one hand, and seconds later raised the other in a finger gun towards Trudeau.
“Great prime minister,” Trump said.
They were joined by their wives, First Lady Melania Trump and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
The prime minister is on a two-day trip to the U.S. capital, timed to overlap with the kickoff of the fourth round of NAFTA renegotiations.
Before the two leaders’ meeting, the pair sat before a throng of reporters in the Oval Office, where Trudeau stressed the two countries’ “interwoven” economies and cultures. He looked forward to being in the audience of the U.S. president again, he said.
Trump then commented on an NBC report, denying an allegation that he asked for a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons. After calling the U.S. broadcaster “fake news,” the president boasted about his country’s stockpile of nuclear arms.
“Right now we have so many nuclear weapons. I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. That’s the only thing I’ve ever discussed,” he said.
Trudeau withheld comment while the repartee between Trump and reporters shifted back to trade talks. Then the president acknowledged Trudeau’s agenda.
“In all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people also. So we’ll see what happens with NAFTA,” Trump said.
The president then casually addressed the prime minister by his first name and hinted that if NAFTA renegotiations fail, a new trade deal could be in the works.
“And I mean, I think Justin understands this. If we can’t make a deal, it’ll be terminated and that’ll be fine. They’re gonna do well. We’re gonna do well. But maybe that won’t be necessary.”
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Author: Zi-Ann Lum