(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” after a hot-mic video captured the Canadian prime minister joking about the U.S. president’s extended remarks to reporters at a NATO summit this week.
“He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. “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% and I guess he’s not happy about it.”
A TV camera caught Trudeau apparently joking about Trump with France’s Emmanuel Macron and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson at a reception on Tuesday. The U.S. president wasn’t present.
Johnson asked Macron why he had arrived late to the reception, and Trudeau interjected, saying, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
The remark was an apparent reference to Trump’s penchant for holding impromptu news conferences at the beginning of his meetings with other leaders. Trump spoke to reporters for more than two hours combined on Tuesday before meetings with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, Macron and Trudeau.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau added.
In a news conference Wednesday, Trudeau said he was remarking on the length of Trump’s news conferences and that his “jaws drop” comment was referring to Trump’s surprise announcement of the site of the next Group of Seven summit, which will be held at Camp David in Maryland.
“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. “We will continue to have an excellent relationship.”
In his meeting with Trudeau, Trump questioned the Canadian prime minister about how much his country spends on its own defense. Canada does not meet NATO’s target for member countries to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on their militaries.
“What are you at? What is your number?” Trump asked.
Trudeau tried to evade answering directly, saying: “The number we talk about is a 70% increase over these past years. We are increasing significantly our defense spending from previous governments that cut it.”
But Trump followed up. “Okay, where are you now, in terms of your number?”
After some discussion with an aide, Trudeau answered: “1.4.”
“They’ll get there. They’re getting there,” Trump said.
After firing back at Trudeau in the Merkel meeting, Trump later had lunch with countries who are meeting NATO’s 2% defense spending target. At that gathering, he said he’d cancel his formal news conference later in the day.
As reporters left the room, Trump turned to the table and quipped: “That was funny when I said the guy is two-faced.”
(Updates with Trudeau and Trump comments starting in seventh paragraph.)
To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Josh Wingrove in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Justin Blum, Joshua Gallu
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.