Yesterday President Trump invited the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to the White House. They had a meeting to discuss how to advance women business owners both in the U.S. and Canada — Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, was there — she did invite some female CEOs to attend the meeting. It was announced that the two countries would work together on a project to promote more female CEOs. Nice.
Then both Trudeau and Trump hosted a press conference. Trump spoke in English while Trudeau spoke in both English and French. Here are some highlights:
Trump pledged that the U.S. would work with Canada in maintaining a strong trading relationship. Trump said the US is fortunate to have Canada as a neighbor.
Trudeau said it is nice and warm in DC compared to Canada. Trudeau said the US and Canada have a special bond, but that it is a complex relationship and they won’t always agree with everything (Trump smiled at that). Trudeau said 35 US states list Canada as their largest export market and that $2 billion in two-way trade occurs every day and that millions of middle-class jobs depend on that partnership.
They were asked about border security, immigration, and Syrian refugees. (Both have vastly different approaches with Trump imposing a travel ban (that fizzled) and Trudeau explicitly welcoming 40,000 Syrian refugees).
Trump skirted the issue of Syrian refugees by focusing on the ICE arrests and said that Sec. of Homeland Security Kelly was doing a great job, that we’re getting bad criminals out and that is what people who voted for Trump wanted. He later said that he wanted to open a big beautiful door for people to come in, but that he can’t let the wrong people come in, that it was a tough stand but common sense.
Trudeau responded that Canada is committed to their policies of openness and that they have been successful in welcoming Syrian refugees without compromising security thanks to their relationships with the U.S. and allies. He said there would be differences in approaches between the two countries but that he would not go into another country and lecture them on how they govern themselves, that it was his role to govern in a way that reflects Canadians’ approach and to be a positive example in the world.
It seemed to be a friendly, but somewhat tense press conference for two leaders of neighboring countries that differ from each other in many ways.
Tomorrow Trump will meet with the PM of Israel.