NEWS BRIEF Wednesday’s energy summit in Ottawa began awkwardly enough when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rather clumsily tried to finagle a three-way handshake with United States President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. It only got more awkward when reporters began peppering the North American leaders with questions about Donald Trump.
All three men have harshly criticized the presumptive Republican nominee over the last several months in their home countries. Peña Nieto has compared him to Hitler and Mussolini, Trudeau has said he practices the politics of fear and division, and Obama has denounced his rhetoric on immigration, national security, and just about everything else over the course of the presidential campaign.
But as they stood together under the trappings of a formal press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Peña Nieto, Trudeau, and Obama each resorted to diplomatic euphemisms when reporters asked about Trump’s pledges to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement and construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico (paid for by Peña Nieto’s government).
Or at least they tried to.
“I look forward to working with whomever the American people elect in November,” Trudeau said. Without mentioning Trump by name, he seemed unconcerned about what he called “inflated rhetoric” and said that the longstanding ties among Canada, the U.S., and Mexico would “lead us to much more alignment than differentiation.”