Wednesday, 11 December, 2019

Trump says Trudeau 'two-faced' after microphone gaffe

NATO leaders including Trudeau, Macron caught mocking Trump on camera World leaders appear to mock Trump at NATO reception in viral video
Adrian Cunningham | 04 December, 2019, 21:41

A misery-loves-company moment involving Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and the U.K.'s Boris Johnson, among others, has gone viral since it was captured on video during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night.

The video was shot during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night, hours after Trudeau and Trump met on the sidelines of a gathering of leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance.

Mr. Trump's press conference would have served as counter-programming to an impeachment hearing that's getting underway on Capitol Hill. "It's really, honestly, it's a disgrace", he told reporters.

New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali, along with other news outlets, also pointed out a fifth person who appears to be Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.

Johnson, meanwhile, professed ignorance when asked by reporters about the conversation.

"He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top", Trudeau said at one point.

Macron nodded, as Trudeau replied, "He was late because he takes a ..." U.S. President Donald Trump described the remarks as "very, very nasty".

After a working lunch with the leaders of nine nations that meet or exceed the 2% goal, another hot mike moment heard him boast: "That was amusing when I said that guy was two-faced". "But you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he's not paying 2 per cent, and I guess he's not very happy about it". He's not paying 2 per cent, and he should be paying 2 per cent.

"It's Canada. They have money". "I was happy to take part in it but it was certainly notable".

Asked about the video, Mr Johnson told reporters: "It's complete nonsense".

"We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G-7 will be at Camp David, I think that was an unscheduled announcement", Trudeau said as he sought to downplay his comments.

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"I have a very good relationship with Trump", he said.

"We did so many over the past two days", he said.

The leaders of the world's most powerful military alliance clashed over personality and policy on Wednesday as NATO's summit ended with an effort to paper over their sharp divisions.

On Tuesday, he said those nations had added $US130b ($NZ199b) to defence budgets since 2016, and that this number would increase to $US400b by 2024.

How sharp were the exchanges?

Last year, the Western allies' get-together was derailed by US President Donald Trump's demand for greater European defence spending, but 2019's provocateur was France's Emmanuel Macron.

Sen. Cory Booker said the video of world leaders appearing to laugh at the expense of President Trump is proof American "cannot be trusted" by its allies.

Chief among them, Macron says, is "how to build sustainable peace in Europe".

What's the background to the tensions?

Macron responded pushing back on Trump's claim that most of the ISIS fighters in Syria are coming from Europe, and called on Trump and the United States to "be serious" in the fight against ISIS.