The exchange came after what the left-leaning Washington Post describes as Trump having “pronounced, prodded and pushed America’s allies into a state of unbalance — seizing the global stage to both bully and banter, all while keeping himself at the center of attention”:
Over the course of three one-on-one meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Macron and Trudeau, Trump turned what were expected to be brief photo opportunities into his own personal daytime cable show. As the other leaders largely bore witness, the U.S. president — frequently affable, occasionally bored — held forth for a collective two hours, fielding questions on topics ranging from the impeachment investigation he left at home to the British election campaign he flew into here.
Asked about the viral video on Wednesday, President Trump took a swipe at Trudeau before offering some praise.
“Well, he’s two-faced,” said Trump, who’s famous for coining memorable epithets for his political enemies.
After smacking the Canadian PM, Trump did something a little unexpected: he praised him. “And honestly with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy,” said Trump. “I find him to be a very nice guy.”
“The truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2%, and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” said Trump. “He’s not paying 2%, and he should be paying 2%. It’s Canada, they have money, and they should be paying 2%. So I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it. But that’s the way it is.”
Trump then announced on Wednesday that his scheduled press conference was canceled and he was heading back to Washington.
Trump’s reflexive “Two-Faced” Trudeau comment has been echoed by other Trudeau critics, including Ezra Levant, founder of Canadian outlet The Rebel, who tweeted in response to Trudeau’s Trump mockery:
“Just like at the G7 meeting last year, Justin Trudeau was meek and obedient to Donald Trump when they were face to face. But the moment Trump left the room Trudeau bad-mouthed him. Here he is doing the same in London, mocking Canada’s greatest NATO ally.”
While The Washington Post spends most of its coverage of the NATO summit trashing Trump’s performance, the paper also admits that his “freewheeling style” has ended up “yielding results,” as NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg highlighted.
“Stoltenberg — praising Trump’s “leadership on defense spending” as helping to add more than $130 billion to military coffers from Canada and European allies since 2016 — seemed to acknowledge the ways in which Trump’s often capricious, freewheeling style has simultaneously distressed allies while, at times, also yielding results,” the Trump-criticizing Post reported.
Related: Canada’s Justin Trudeau Mocks Trump At NATO Summit. That’s Ironic Coming From Trudeau.
This article has been expanded to include more of Trump’s response to Trudeau.