President Donald Trump has responded to a video that appeared to show Justin Trudeau and other world leaders mocking him at the NATO summit in London. At the same time, Trump said he would cancel the final scheduled NATO press conference.
“He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday, a day after the hot-mic video surfaced. “I find him to be a very nice guy but the truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 percent [on Canada’s defense budget] and I guess he’s not very happy about it.”
Trump added, “He’s not paying 2 percent and he should be paying 2 percent. It’s Canada, they have money and they should be paying 2 percent. So I called him out on that and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it but that’s the way it is.”
He made the remark while speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2019 NATO summit in London.
“Look, I’m representing the U.S. and he should be paying more than he’s paying. And he understands it. So I can imagine he’s not that happy. But that’s the way it is,” President Trump remarked.
“I canceled the news conference. I’ve done so many,” Trump also told reporters.
Late on Tuesday, a video surfaced, allegedly showing French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Trudeau discussing Trump’s press conference with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.
The leaders apparently didn’t realize they were being recorded. Johnson asked Macron, “Is that why you were late?” and Trudeau replied with “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.” It’s not exactly clear who he was referring to, but it has been widely speculated it was Trump.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau also apparently says in the clip. It’s also not clear which team he was referring to.
“Where are you at? What is your number?” Trump also asked Trudeau during their sidelines meeting at the NATO summit, NPR reported. Trump pressed on: “Where are you now in terms of your number?”
Trump and past American presidents have called on NATO members to spend 2 percent or more on defense. NPR noted that just seven of the 29 NATO members have reached that target, and the United States is by far the largest contributor. Canada, meanwhile, has pledged only 1.4 percent of its spending, the CTV reported.
And during a press conference with Trudeau on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that Canada is “slightly delinquent” on the spending. “They’ll be OK. I have confidence,” Trump added.
“Just slightly delinquent. But, no, some are major delinquent. Some are way below 1 percent and that’s unacceptable. And then if something happens, we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair,” Trump continued.