President Donald Trump will head back to Washington, D.C., this afternoon after completing his remaining meetings at the NATO Summit in London rather than stay for another evening of mixers after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was captured on tape mocking him at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday night.
The NATO gathering has been acrimonious and Trudeau, as well as a handful of other world leaders, were left angry after Trump suggested that NATO allies begin making bigger financial contributions to the alliance’s military efforts rather than rely on the United States to underwrite the vast cost of NATO peacekeeping.
Trudeau was captured talking about the President by cameras filming interactions between the NATO leaders at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday. Trudeau laughed at Trump’s tardiness and suggested to the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Trump’s staff was trying desperately to rein in the American president.
.@JustinTrudeau, @EmmanuelMacron, @BorisJohnson and other VIPs shared a few words at a Buckingham Palace reception Tuesday. No one mentions @realDonaldTrump by name, but they seem to be discussing his lengthy impromptu press conferences from earlier in the day. (Video: Host Pool) pic.twitter.com/dVgj48rpOP
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) December 3, 2019
Trump replied to Trudeau’s mockery on Wednesday, outlining his efforts to prod Canada, the UK, and others into taking a more active role in paying for NATO efforts which, Trump says, Trudeau and others didn’t appreciate. NATO members have a “non-binding” agreement to contribute 2% of their countries’ gross domestic product to defense and Trump made it a priority to confront the leaders of nations who aren’t making good on that promise.
“I called him out on the fact he is not paying 2 percent, and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump told reporters, adding that Canada has yet to meet its NATO military spending goals.
Indeed, the President had testy interactions with several nations he accused of shorting the NATO piggybank. Before news broke of yesterday’s tiff between Trump and Trudeau, the predominant story was Trump’s tangle with French president Emmanuel Macron over what he believed to be French under-payment.
Trudeau skirted the issue when asked about his comments Wednesday morning, telling reporters that “[l]ast night, I made a reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump. And I was happy to take part of it. But it was certainly notable,” according to NBC News. He said his “jaws dropping” remark was in reference to Trump’s suggestion that the next G7 summit will be at Camp David in the United States.
Boris Johson denied that he took part in Trudeau’s apparent criticism, calling the report “absolute nonsense” and adding that he “didn’t know” how those rumors began.
The President announced on Twitter, however, that he wouldn’t stay to be mocked a second night in a row, and that he would be returning to Washington, D.C., as soon as his remaining meetings are over, cutting a final press conference off his official schedule.
“Just finished meetings with Turkey and Germany. Heading to a meeting now with those countries that have met their 2% GOALS, followed by meetings with Denmark and Italy,” Trump tweeted. “When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!”
The President made good on his promise, boarding Marine One at approximately 9:30 EST to rendevous with his ride back across the Atlantic.